Although antiviral medications and monoclonal antibodies can impact the progress of COVID-19 if administered early in infection, no single medicine has been clearly shown to effectively treat moderate to severe disease in hospitalized patients. However, many drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, have been offered as magic medicines, not the least of which are vitamins and dietary supplements.

To address one highly touted vitamin (vitamin D3), researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil studied 240 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to assess the efficacy of a single dose of 200,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D3 (Murai IH, Fernandes AL, Sales LP, et al. Effect of a single high dose of Vitamin D3 on hospital length of stay in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. JAMA. 2021 Mar 16;325(11):1053-1060). They found no differences in in-hospital mortality, admission to the intensive care unit or need for mechanical ventilation. The authors concluded, “The findings do not support the use of a high dose of vitamin D3 for treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19” (p. 1053).

Time will tell whether this study convinces the true believers.

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