The benefits of high serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] are unclear. Trials are needed to establish an appropriate evidence base.
We plan to conduct a large-scale trial of vitamin D supplementation for the reduction of cancer incidence and overall mortality and report here the methods and results of a pilot trial established to inform its design.
Pilot D-Health was a randomized trial carried out in a general community setting with 12 months intervention and follow-up.
Participants were 60- to 84-yr-old residents of one of the four eastern Australian states who did not have any vitamin D-related disorders and who were not taking more than 400 IU supplementary vitamin D per day. A total of 644 participants were randomized, and 615 completed the study (two persons withdrew because of nonserious adverse events).
The interventions were monthly doses of placebo or 30,000 or 60,000 IU vitamin D3.
The main outcomes were the recruitment rate and changes in serum 25(OH)D.
Ten percent of those approached were recruited. At baseline, the mean 25(OH)D was 42 nmol/liter in all three study arms. The mean change in 25(OH)D in the placebo group was 0.12 nmol/liter, compared with changes of 22 and 36 nmol/liter in the 30,000- and 60,000-IU groups, respectively.
The D-Health pilot has shown that a large trial is feasible in Australia and that a dose of 2000 IU/d will be needed to ensure that a large proportion of the population reaches the target serum 25(OH)D level.