Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
Should I Recommend Vitamin D Supplements to Protect Against COVID-19?
Recent narrative reviews have recommended vitamin D supplementation as a means of reducing the risk of catching or becoming ill from the SARS-CoV-2 (i.e. the virus that causes COVID-19). There is currently not enough evidence to indicate that vitamin D supplements can prevent or improve the course of COVID-19.
The Bottom Line:
- No studies have examined the effect of vitamin D to prevent or treat COVID-19 infections.
- Information extrapolated from randomized trials that examined respiratory tract infection prevention have not reported consistent beneficial effects of vitamin D compared to placebo in adults or children.
- Potential risks that have been identified include a higher rate of repeat episodes of pneumonia.
- While observational studies suggest that lower serum vitamin D levels are associated with inflammatory response, lower serum vitamin D levels are associated with other factors and not only with inadequate vitamin D intake.
- Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and vitamin D supplementation is recommended in a number of countries for various ages during the life cycle for general health.
For a full evaluation of the evidence, including the references, see the PEN Trending Topic: Can Vitamin D Supplements Prevent or Improve the Course of COVID-19?
COVID-19 Trials and Research We Are Watching
Vitamin C Trials Posted: 2020-04-07
A randomized control trial published in JAMA showing a lack of effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine as compared to hydrocortisone alone in a quicker resolution of septic shock suggests that intravenous vitamin C is not likely to be effective for COVID-19 treatment.
A trial from the US National Library of Medicine ClinicalTrials.gov: Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia is underway (estimated completion September 2020). This trial is designed to provide more definitive answers about the effectiveness of intravenous vitamin C for COVID-19.
A New Site - LitCOVID
LitCOVID is new from PUBMED. It is a site to help scientists keep track of COVID-19 evidence publications.
*Word of Caution from PEN Evidence Analysts: Please keep in mind that these papers are being rushed to publication as the information is wanted ASAP. Some of these papers are not peer reviewed. While peer review is not a perfect process by any means, it does allow an unbiased review of the work by someone external to the research group.
Trending Topic - Why Are Journal Article Retractions Important to Practitioners?
Probiotics in the News
There is a lot of attention in social media lately about recent studies related to probiotics. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), which is an international group of probiotic scientists, provides critique of these studies. Click here for details.
The Science and Politics of Nutrition Series - The History of Nutrition Science
The BMJ has launched a series of open access, peer-reviewed articles under the title, Food for Thought - The Science and Politics of Nutrition. The series covered a variety of controversial nutrition topics where there are uncertainties in the evidence and debate among experts. The articles aim to bring together a wide range of viewpoints and to discuss the areas of consensus and uncertainty as well as how to move forward with research, policy and guidelines for practitioners. The first article of the series describes the history of nutrition science and how this history has formed our current understanding of
diet and health as well as the current controversies that we deal with every day.
Note: This is the first article in the launch of a series of articles. We will post other appropriate articles in the coming weeks and months. These articles cover topics ranging from the role of carbohydrates in chronic disease to the quality of dietary guidelines. The complete collection of articles can be downloaded from Food for Thought.
Sugary Drink Research
Using 2004 data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to analyze sugary drink consumption and using data purchased from Euromonitor International, researchers at the University of Waterloo projected the health and economic impact of sugary drinks in Canada, which includes over 63,000 projected deaths that will cost the health care system more than $50 billion over the next 25 years. The research was commissioned by Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Diabetes Association (now Diabetes Canada), Childhood Obesity Foundation, Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, and Heart & Stroke. Click here to view the media release and to gain access to the Health and Economic Impacts of Sugary Drinks in Canada research summary.
Article Analysis and Commentary on Low-salt Diets Research
Article Analysis: Potatoes Once Again Targeted as Bad for One's Health