Vitamin D hype not matching reality

The hype around supplemental vitamin D doesn’t seem to be matching the reality seen in clinical trials, Graeme Jones has told delegates in a talk on the future of osteoarthritis.

A quote published in a JAMA that said: “Clinical enthusiasm for supplemental vitamin D has outpaced available evidence on its effectiveness” was a pretty reasonable assessment of the situation, he told delegates.

“Observational epidemiology is showing a strong association [with vitamin D] with just about everything you can think of but the clinical trials aren’t… and the reasons for this is probably confounding,” he said.

Jones’ very own research team had observational data that showed vitamin D was effective in osteoarthritis and secured NHMRC funding to carry out the VIDEO study.

The two-year study — which will be presented here at #ara15 and at EULAR next month — involved 400 vitamin D deficient subjects with clinical OA who were given a 50,000IU dose of vitamin D each month.

“We increased vitamin D beautifully with this dose, it went from a mean of vitamin D (250HD) 40 to 80nmol/L,” he said.

But the research team found no effect on the study’s primary end points of pain or cartilage volume loss.

It did prevent BML increase and effusion size [in a post-hoc analysis] the effects were small and their clinical significance was uncertain.

“So if you have an OA patient with vitamin D deficiency giving them vitamin D is not going to improve their osteoarthritis outcomes,” he concludes.

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