Vitamin D Does Not Improve Knee OA Progression, Symptoms

Supplementation to raise levels above 36 ng/mL has no impact on knee pain, cartilage volume loss

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- For adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA), vitamin D supplementation for two years does not reduce knee pain or cartilage volume loss compared to placebo, according to a study published in the Jan. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Timothy McAlindon, D.M., M.P.H., of the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted a two-year placebo-controlled trial involving 146 participants (62.4 years; 61 percent women) with symptomatic knee OA who were randomized to receive placebo or oral cholecalciferol 2,000 IU/day with dose escalation to raise serum levels to higher than 36 ng/mL.

The researchers found that the mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased by a mean 16.1 ng/mL and 2.1 ng/mL in the treatment and placebo groups, respectively. Compared with the placebo group, the treatment group experienced significantly worse baseline knee pain and function. There was no significant difference at any time in the decrease in knee pain (mean, −2.31 in the treatment group versus −1.46 in the placebo group). In both groups, the percentage of cartilage volume decreased by the same extent (mean, −4.30 and −4.25, respectively).

"In summary, the results of this trial together with recent observational data indicate that vitamin D does not have a major effect on knee OA symptoms or progression among individuals who have a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level higher than 15 ng/mL," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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