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Physical Function of sedentary seniors not helped by vitamin D (for several reasons) – RCT Nov 2016

Vitamin D and Physical Function in Sedentary Older Men

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, First published: 14 November 2016, DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14510
Silvina Levis MD, Orlando Gómez-Marín PhD


They used enough Vitamin D (4,000 IU) for a long enough time period (9 months)
I could not understand why this trial had failed!
I paid the publisher $6 to rent the PDF to find out.
It appears that failure was due to participant selection

  • 111 people finished the trial
  • 574 excluded because they were not sedentary (i.e. were healthy)
  • 298 excluded because they were already supplementing with vitamin D
    Some % of the participants may have tried Vitamin D and had found not benefit for themselves
    Thus participants may have had vitamin D blocked from getting to cells by any of 5 genes problems, low Magnesium, low Omega-3, etc
  • The study INCLUDED people having major illnesses
    such as diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer, fibromyalgia, inflammation, MS, TB, arthritis, etc
    It is unlikely that people with major illnesses would have increased their physical function

See also VitaminDWiki

Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in preventing decline in physical function in older men.

Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Setting: Single-center study conducted at a Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

Participants: Sedentary men aged 65 to 90 (mean 72.4 ± 6.8) with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D levels of less than 30 ng/mL and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) test scores of 9 or less (N = 130).

Intervention: Daily capsule containing cholecalciferol 4,000 IU daily or placebo for 9 months.

Measurements: Main outcomes were SPPB score and gait speed.

Results: After the intervention, serum 25(OH)D increased from 23.1 ± 5.0 ng/mL to 46.2 ± 12.7 ng/mL in the cholecalciferol group and from 22.5 ± 5.3 ng/mL to 24.0 ± 7.2 ng/mL in the placebo group. At study end, improvements in SPPB score and gait speed were not significantly greater in men receiving cholecalciferol than in those receiving placebo. No differences were found in adverse events or numbers of falls.

Conclusion: Daily cholecalciferol 4,000 IU for 9 months resulted in significant increases in 25(OH)D concentrations, but achieving these higher levels did not result in improvements in SPPB score or gait speed. These data do not support prescribing vitamin D supplements to older sedentary men to prevent physical function decline.