The effect of vitamin D supplementation on pain: An analysis of data from the D-Health randomized controlled trial

Aninda Rahman, Mary Waterhouse, Catherine Baxter, Briony Duarte Romero, Donald S.A. McLeod, Bruce K. Armstrong, Peter R. Ebeling, Dallas R. English, Gunter Hartel, Michael G. Kimlin, Rachel O'Connell, Jolieke C. Van Der Pols, Alison J. Venn, Penelope M. Webb, David C. Whiteman, Rachel E. Neale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Observational studies suggest that 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration is inversely associated with pain. However, findings from intervention trials are inconsistent. We assessed the effect of vitamin D supplementation on pain using data from a large, double-blind, population-based, placebo-controlled trial (the D-Health Trial). 21,315 participants (aged 60-84 years) were randomly assigned to a monthly dose of 60,000 IU vitamin D3 or a matching placebo. Pain was measured using the 6-item Pain Impact Questionnaire (PIQ-6), administered 1, 2 and 5 years after enrollment. We used regression models (linear for continuous PIQ-6 score and log-binomial for binary categorizations of the score, namely 'some or more pain impact' and 'presence of any bodily pain') to estimate the effect of vitamin D on pain. We included 20,423 participants who completed ≥1 PIQ-6. In blood samples collected from 3943 randomly selected participants (∼800 per year) the mean (SD) 25(OH)D concentrations were 77 (SD 25) and 115 (SD 30) nmol/L in the placebo and vitamin D groups, respectively. Most (76%) participants were predicted to have 25(OH)D concentration >50 nmol/L at baseline. The mean PIQ-6 was similar in all surveys (∼50.4). The adjusted mean difference in PIQ-6 score (vitamin D cf placebo) was 0.02 (95% CI, -0.20 to 0.25). The proportion of participants with some or more pain impact and with presence of bodily pain was also similar between groups (both prevalence ratios 1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.03). In conclusion, supplementation with 60,000 IU of vitamin D3 per month had negligible effect on bodily pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Early online date25 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


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