Treating Covid-19 with Vitamin D $100,000 Challenge

A study from October 2020, the first randomized controlled trial of its kind, showed that high doses of vitamin D (in the form of calcifediol) reduce the severity of Covid-19 in hospitalized patients. The researchers reported a 30-fold(!) reduction in intensive care admissions of Covid-19 patients. At Rootclaim, we analyzed these findings and concluded that even under conservative assumptions accounting for limitations in the study, the effect is still significant and likely around 5-fold. We further demonstrated that since the risks of treatment are low, this treatment protocol should be immediately implemented. Since we published our analysis, additional studies have supported this conclusion.

See Rootclaim’s complete analysis

Many health professionals, government officials, and other decision makers worldwide have seen the studies, but they have yet to update treatment guidelines. This delay may be due to the following:

  • Not many have the background in statistics and probability required to assess the data, and distinguish it from the dozens of false claims about COVID treatments.
  • They’re affected by omission bias – they default to the “safe” alternative of inaction, waiting for more data, rather than choosing action. It’s easier to later defend inaction than face criticism for acting too soon.
  • Their incentives are completely misaligned with the public. The damage to the public from using vitamin D when it isn’t effective is negligible, but the damage caused by inaction in the case that vitamin D is effective is enormous. To the decision maker in a personal capacity, the damage is similar in either case – one wrong decision on their record.
  • When it comes to low-risk, low-cost treatments, decision-makers hedging their bets on inaction leads to avoidable deaths. 

In this particular case the reasons to act now are clear:

  • Similar treatments have been performed for decades, and the risks are known to be low, especially in this setting, when patients can be monitored at the hospital.
  • The benefits of the treatment, on the other hand, are potentially enormous, effectively reducing Covid-19 severity to that of the seasonal flu.

While caution is often the correct path when dealing with public health, this is a case where decisions should be made swiftly, using the best available models. At Rootclaim, we develop such models so when our analysis exposed the implications of the new findings, we decided to promote the adoption of the proposed treatment. We hope that this unique challenge will allow the information to reach more decision makers, and save the millions of lives that will likely be lost while waiting for further studies.

The Challenge

Rootclaim is willing to bet $100,000 that vitamin D is effective in reducing the severity of Covid-19.

This is the second in a series of Rootclaim Challenges and is intended to show that the reluctance to implement a vitamin D protocol today is irrational. A decision maker who is not pushing to adopt the proposed protocol is effectively claiming that the probability that this protocol is better than existing treatments is low. But that also implies that taking the bet would be very profitable. Therefore, any professional not accepting this challenge is implicitly admitting that their decision not to promote the treatment is wrong.

UPDATE (Nov 2022): Since this challenge was published, in the early stages of the pandemic, multiple studies have been done on the subject, with the overwhelming majority finding vitamin D effective.
Over time, the virus has significantly changed its methods, and the population has changed due to vaccines and immunity. Therefore the analysis of vitamin D’s efficacy on the original virus and population is no longer relevant today and should be updated.

Since the pandemic is no longer a major risk, this update is not a priority for Rootclaim. Nevertheless, if you wish to debate the original analysis, please contact us to set the exact criteria.


  • The challenger needs to show that they can commit $100,000. We are open to discussing lower or higher amounts, and the funds can be pooled from multiple sources.
  • Both sides will agree on an arbitrator who will review the evidence. 
  • The challenger needs to declare that they do not have access to any relevant non-public information. This is to protect from abuse in case of unpublished research (there is still a small chance that further research will discover the treatment is ineffective).
  • For the same reason, we may update these terms or withdraw the offer, as new information emerges. Of course, once a bet is made it is final and cannot be withdrawn.

If you’re not willing to risk your own money betting against vitamin D, why are you willing to risk someone else’s life?


  1. D is the game changer, yet politicians continue to ignore the evidence that’s staring us in the face. Incompetence or corruption? All I know is that big Pharma has contributed to keeping people in the dark about vit. D, because they have nothing to gain from people being empowered with knowledge around a protective D status and viral outcomes (as well as many other things, such as gene expression, longevity and auto-immunity)

  2. My bet is:
    1) most of the people reading this blog agree with you
    2) no one will take up your bet until the data is more clear
    So, how about you post an ad on Facebook about treatment of Covid-19 with Vit D3 (patreon it to get $ from your supporters). Then:
    – your ad works, people get better, you win
    – facebook blocks your ad, you sue Facebook for manslaughter, you get publicity, people hear about you, people get better, you win

  3. “There’s a (decentralized) app for that”

    Create a market on Augur with your bet and put 100K on your position vs the internet.

  4. Hi. I’m interested in taking you up on the bet.

    I would like to know the following:
    1. How will we define “accepted by health professionals”
    2. How will we define “a vitamin D treatment protocol similar to that used in the study”
    3. Will funds be escrowed? With who?
    4. What will the administrative costs of the bet be?

  5. We started giving my father who’s in his 80’s 10,000iu of Vitamin D per day in April when the pandemic seemed to be taking hold across the world. Within days we noticed how much more energy he had. Within 2 weeks, 8 years of knee pains just went away. He’s gone from spending all day in bed because his knees hurt too much to walk, to pacing back and forth in the garden which is 30m long and being able to get up and down the staircase by himself.
    He also has dementia and is more alert since taking vitamin D in those doses.

    Another friend in his 50’s taking 4,000iu of Vitamin D reported back within 2 weeks that his backache reduced by 80%

    Others reported cysts they’d had on their ovaries & wrist disappeared after several months of 5,000iu to 10,000iu per day of Vitamin D

    My friend gave Vitamin D to her son in large doses and noticed his behaviour improved. Others that they felt happier and had less anger issues.

    It’s no wonder the medical comanies are hiding the truth about vitamin D – They know that once people discover what taking Vitamin D in the dosages Dr Anthony Fauci does (reported to be 6,000iu per day) many people’s health issues will simply go away and they won’t need to buy their expensive medical drugs or spend more time in hospitals sick.

    5,000iu to 10,000iu of Vitamin D costs pennies per day.

  6. HEY! I’ve been trying to get a USD $10 million bet going that “capsaicin” in hot chili peppers will kill COVID-19 if you eat enough hot peppers on a daily basis to cause pain & discomfort. It helps to follow the regimen if you’re a masochist like I am and enjoy the burning sensation of eating hot peppers, which most people can’t stomach. Anyway, based on research I’ve done, I DO believe capsaicin will both prevent & cure COVID-19. Find me and information about my proposed $10 million bet thru my Twitter feed at — @bitcoinbumguy

  7. Hi! Can you point us to some references to help me evaluate your statement that “multiple studies have been done on the subject, with the overwhelming majority finding vitamin D effective?”

    I am having difficulty finding them. The NIH in the US still says that “There is insufficient evidence for the Panel to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19,” but I’d like to review the primary source material that you are working with.


    • Thank you for reaching out. If you’d like to review the primary source material on the effectiveness of vitamin D for COVID-19 we’d suggest visiting this link:
      It has a compilation of relevant studies on the topic. While we don’t necessarily endorse their meta-analysis, it provides a comprehensive overview for you to evaluate.

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