The results of this study on supplements and Covid-19 were then meta. A meta-analysis recently published in the journal Clinical nutrition ESPEN found no statistically significant correlations between vitamin C, vitamin D or zinc supplementation and decreased Covid-19 mortality. However, it was found that those who had taken vitamin D supplements were less likely to be intubated and had, on average, shorter hospital stays than those who had received standard Covid-19 treatment alone. But before you skip these findings like a gull on a hot dog, keep in mind what a meta-analysis is.
A meta-analysis is not an analysis performed by Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook. Nor is it an analysis of a soft cheese made from sweet sheep’s milk. That would be a feta analysis. Instead, a meta-analysis involves first gathering all the available studies that measure the effect of a particular intervention in this case by taking vitamin C, vitamin D, or zinc supplements. Research team from the University of Toledo (Azizullah Beran, Mohammed Mhanna, Omar Srour, Hazem Ayesh, Jamie M. Stewart, Majdal Hjouj, Waleed Khokher, Asmaa S. Mhanna, Dana Ghazaleh, Yasmin Khader, Wasef Sayeh and Ragheb Assaly) found a total of 26 studies, including 10 randomized controlled trials and 16 observational studies, which had a total of 5,633 patients with Covid-19. The team collected these studies and then used statistical techniques to merge and synthesize the results from each of these studies. These techniques then allowed the team to quantify the overall effects of supplements.
Overall, the nine studies evaluating the use of vitamin C supplements, the five studies evaluating the use of zinc supplements, and the 14 studies evaluating the use of vitamin D supplements found no statistically significant effects on Covid- 19 mortality. However, the vitamin D studies, which included a total of 927 patients who received vitamin D supplements compared to 2570 patients who just received standard treatment, showed that vitamin D supplements were associated with a 45% lower frequency of intubation and had an average of one 1.26 -day shorter hospital stay.
This was certainly not the first study to find a possible link between vitamin D and Covid-19. I covered for Forbes some of these studies back in May 2020. Thereafter, a meta-analysis published in November 2020 in the journal Critical reviews in food science and nutrition found vitamin D deficiency associated with more severe Covid-19. And a study recently published in PLOS ONE revealed that among 1176 patients admitted with Covid-19 in Israel, those with vitamin D deficiency were 14 times more likely to have severe or critical Covid-19 than those with normal levels of vitamin D.
Here are questions and answers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, also known as UChicago Medicine, about Vitamin D and Covid-19, published back in May 2021:
As you can see, vitamin D may play a role in the regulation of various immune system responses. It can help the cells that help identify an attacker and also prevent the response from getting out of hand. Such features may prove useful in dealing with Covid-19, as the disease is a combination of direct damage from the virus and your immune system shooting in random directions like a virgin on a real date for the first time.
This does not necessarily mean that you should start knocking vitamin D supplements by hand. Meta-analyzes have their limitations. They try to gather different studies, many of which vary greatly in quality and design. This can be a situation with coat-tie-shorts or even a situation with coat-tie-thong where things do not really match, which weakens the validity of any conclusions. In fact, many of the existing vitamin D studies have several holes that your underwear can have when you rub your bottom with a cheese grater. Even the better constructed studies can only show correlations and not cause-effect. So take any conclusions from this meta-analysis with a hot dog full of salt. More studies are needed to more definitively determine if there are any possible links between vitamin D and protection against poor Covid-19 results.
At this point, if you are actually deficient in vitamin D, it would make sense to take vitamin D supplements. This may have additional health benefits in addition to Covid-19 related. Vitamin D has been linked to stronger bones. In general, it may not hurt to take vitamin D supplements, provided you do not overdo it and get the supplements from a legitimate source. If the person selling supplements to you is also saying something about “The Deep State” or trying to tell you that vaccines are getting keys to stick in your forehead, try another source. Beware of supplements that may contain extra unnecessary ingredients or be counterfeit in some other way. Note that I am saying forgery here and not infidelity, although infidelity grants would be bad too. If your vitamin D pill gives you an erection, it’s probably not just vitamin D. Vitamin D alone should not be so exciting.
Furthermore, vitamin D is by no means a substitute for being vaccinated against Covid-19. It is not going to protect you from Covid-19 in the same way unless you are obviously too busy taking supplements to leave your house.