Vitamin D supplements do not reduce COVID risk, genetic study of people of European ancestry suggests

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Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

[A] new genetic study suggests that giving people extra vitamin D may not protect against coronavirus infection or COVID-19.

In the study, which was published on June 1 in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, focused on genetic variants that are linked to increased vitamin D levels.

Researchers found that people who have one of these variants — who are more likely to have higher vitamin D levels — didn’t have a lower risk for coronavirus infection, hospitalization, or severe illness due to COVID-19.

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Bonnie Patchen, a PhD student at Cornell University, is the lead author on another Mendelian randomization study looking at the link between vitamin D and COVID-19.

She said that the findings of the new study are similar to what she and her colleagues found with their research, which was published May 4 in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

But she pointed out that this type of genetic analysis does have its limitations.

One is that the new paper relied on genetic data from people of European ancestry, so the results may not apply to other populations, particularly people with darker skin who are more likely to have lower vitamin D levels.

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