Vitamin D levels marginally increased in people taking low dose vitamin D3

Despite vitamin D deficiency being prevalent in the Middle East, few studies have tried to determine its health impact and what can be done to combat it.

As such, researchers from the United Arab Emirates University conducted an RCT to assess whether vitamin D3 and calcium, either alone or in combination, have significant health benefits on vitamin D-deficient adults.

Healthy but low on D?

The researchers recruited 545 “apparently healthy community free-living”​ adults aged 18 and older in Al Ain, UAE for the RCT and randomly assigned them to receive tablets containing either 2000 IU of oral vitamin D3, 600 mg of calcium, a combination of the two, or a placebo daily for six months.

The study, conducted over a period of three years, focused on self-rated health and bone turnover markers as primary outcomes and measured participants’ 25(OH)D levels using their blood and urine samples.

Outcome measures were biochemical variables of metabolic risk factors, bone turnover (biochemical measures of bone metabolism) and muscle and general health. Of the 545 subjects, 277 completed a six-month follow-up after the trial had concluded.

The researchers found that 25(OH)D levels “marginally increased” in the two groups who had received vitamin D3 alone or combined with calcium, while a decline in 25(OH)D levels was seen in those who had received the calcium supplement alone or a placebo.

According to sub-group analysis, parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration decreased and calcium-creatinine ratio increased significantly in those who had taken a combination of vitamin D and calcium, compared to those who had vitamin D or calcium alone, while an increase in both was seen in the placebo group.

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