Authors: Shakoor H, Freehan J, Mikkelsen K, Al Dhaheri AS, Ali HI.

PMID: 32829981 PMCID: PMC7428453 DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.08.007


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In January 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and in March 2020, COVID-19 was characterized as a global pandemic that is responsible for infecting over 20 million and more than 700,000 deaths. COVID-19 symptoms are fever, cough, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, arthromyalgias, serious interstitial pneumonia that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis-induced coagulopathy and multi-organ dysfunction. In addition, the severe progression of COVID-19 results in cytokine storm with excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Previously, outbreaks of similar viruses which belong to the β-coronavirus family occurred in 2002–2004 and 2012–2014, as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), respectively.

Currently, there is no approved drug treatment or vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Until these become available, one must include adequate and balanced nutrition for proper body functioning and boosting of the immune system. Micronutrients, vitamin C and vitamin D have gained much attention during the pandemic because of their anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties. Low levels of vitamins D and C result in coagulopathy and suppress the immune system, causing lymphocytopenia. Evidence has shown that the mortality rate is higher in COVID-19 patients with low vitamin D concentrations. Further, vitamin C supplementation increases the oxygenation index in COVID-19 infected patients. Similarly, vitamin B deficiency can significantly impair cell and immune system function, and lead to inflammation due to hyperhomocysteinemia.

There is a need to highlight the importance of vitamin B because it plays a pivotal role in cell functioning, energy metabolism, and proper immune function. Vitamin B assists in proper activation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, improves respiratory function, maintains endothelial integrity, prevents hypercoagulability and can reduce the length of stay in hospital. Therefore, vitamin B status should be assessed in COVID-19 patients and vitamin B could be used as a non-pharmaceutical adjunct to current treatments.

Keywords: COVID-19, vitamin B, SARS-CoV2

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