Vitamin D and Health Outcomes | Then Came the Randomized Clinical Trials
Not long ago, vitamin D was riding high. Beyond its role in calcium homeostasis and bone health, animal studies linked vitamin D deficiency to numerous chronic illnesses including hypertension, diabetes, autoimmunity, and malignancy. Corroborating human observational studies reported associations between vitamin D deficiency and increased risks of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and cancer. The lay press seized on this chorus of observational studies, testing of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels proliferated, and supplementation with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) increased substantially.
Then came the randomized clinical trials.
Multiple trials have failed to demonstrate significant benefits of vitamin D supplementation. For example, vitamin D supplementation, compared with placebo, failed to reduce systolic blood pressure in patients with prehypertension and stage hypertension. High-dose monthly oral vitamin D3, compared with placebo, did not reduce risk of incident cardiovascular disease or death. In the Vitamin D and Type 2 Diabetes (D2d) trial, vitamin D supplementation, compared with placebo, failed to lower risk of incident type 2 diabetes in patients with prediabetes.
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