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Does vitamin D supplementation prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in military personnel? Review of the evidence


For most individuals residing in Northwestern Europe, maintaining replete vitamin D status throughout the year is unlikely without vitamin D supplementation and deficiency remains common. Military studies have investigated the association with vitamin D status, and subsequent supplementation, with the risk of stress fractures particularly during recruit training. The expression of nuclear vitamin D receptors and vitamin D metabolic enzymes in immune cells additionally provides a rationale for the potential role of vitamin D in maintaining immune homeostasis. One particular area of interest has been in the prevention of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs). The aims of this review were to consider the evidence of vitamin D supplementation in military populations in the prevention of ARTIs, including SARS-CoV-2 infection and consequent COVID-19 illness. The occupational/organisational importance of reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially where infected young adults may be asymptomatic, presymptomatic or paucisymptomatic, is also discussed.

  • respiratory infections
  • public health
  • preventive medicinE
  • occupational & industrial medicine
  • infectious diseases
  • internal medicine

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