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Influence of vitamin D supplementation on immune function of healthy aging people: A pilot randomized controlled trial

Dong, H. ORCID: 0000-0003-2225-7256, Asmolovaite, V., Farnaud, S. & Renshaw, D. (2022). Influence of vitamin D supplementation on immune function of healthy aging people: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9, 1005786. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1005786


Objectives: This study aims to investigate the influence of vitamin D supplementation on immune function of healthy older adults.

Materials and methods: Designed as a randomized controlled trial, 21 participants (55–85 years) completed the study during May–November 2018 in Coventry, England. The participants were randomized into vitamin D or the control group, stratified by age, gender and body mass index. The vitamin D group (n = 12) took vitamin D3 tablets of 1,000 IU/day for 12 weeks plus vitamin D education leaflet, while the control group (n = 9) were only provided with the leaflet. At baseline, 6 and 12 weeks, plasma 25(OH)D levels and immunological and metabolic parameters including phagocytic activity of granulocytes and monocytes, tumor necrosis factor, interleukin 6, lymphocyte subsets and fasting blood glucose and lipid were measured. Dietary vitamin D intake was analyzed at baseline and week 12. Data were presented as mean ± SD. Two-way repeated measures ANOVA and independent t-test were used to analyze the data.

Results: At baseline, 42.9% of the participants were vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 25 nmol/L), only 10% achieved a level of 25(OH)D > 50 nmol/L. Overweight/obese participants (n = 9) had significantly lower mean plasma 25(OH)D concentration (22.3 ± 8.7 nmol/L) than normal weight participants (48.1 ± 34.3 nmol/L) (P = 0.043). There was a significant increase in plasma 25(OH)D concentration in vitamin D group compared with that in control group (P = 0.002) during the intervention period. The plasma 25(OH)D concentration in vitamin D group was increased at 6 weeks (from 38.4 ± 37.0 nmol/L at baseline to 51.0 ± 38.2 nmol/L) with little change observed between 6 and 12 weeks (51.8 ± 36.4 nmol/L). The plasma creatinine concentration in vitamin D group was significantly decreased compared with the control group (P = 0.036) (79.8 ± 7.0 μmol/L at baseline vs 75.1 ± 5.4 μmol/L at week 12). No significant effect of vitamin D supplementation was determined on immunological parameters.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is common among the aging population in the UK even during the summertime. Vitamin D supplementation at 1,000 IU/day for 12 weeks significantly increased plasma 25(OH)D concentration but showed no effect on metabolic and immunological parameters except decreased plasma creatinine.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 Dong, Asmolovaite, Farnaud and Renshaw. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Publisher Keywords: vitamin D, aging, immune function, proinflammatory cytokines, creatinine, randomized controlled trial
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

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