, Volume 471, Issue 11, pp 3556-3562
Date: 01 Aug 2013

Does Vitamin D Improve Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

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Abstract

Background

Animal, epidemiologic, and human clinical studies suggest a putative role for vitamin D in osteoarthritis (OA). Inadequate sunlight exposure and lower serum levels of 25(OH)D appear in some reports to be associated with an increased risk for progression of knee OA.

Questions/purposes

We asked whether treatment with vitamin D would (1) reduce knee pain (WOMAC and VAS), (2) improve function (WOMAC), and (3) change levels of relevant biochemical markers in patients with knee OA with vitamin D insufficiency.

Methods

This randomized controlled pilot trial prospectively enrolled 107 patients with knee OA with vitamin D insufficiency (25(OH)D ≤ 50 nmol/L) to receive oral vitamin D or placebo. The primary outcome measures were pain and function, and the secondary were biochemical markers. At baseline, the two groups were comparable. The patients were followed for 1 year.

Results

At 12 months, knee pain had decreased in the vitamin D group by mean −0.26 (95% CI, −2.82 to −1.43) on VAS and −0.55 (95% CI, −0.07 to 1.02) on the WOMAC, whereas in the placebo group, it increased by mean 0.13 (95% CI, −0.03 to 0.29) on the VAS and 1.16 (95% CI, 0.82 to 1.49) on the WOMAC (effect size = 0.37 and 0.78). Likewise knee function improved in the vitamin D group by mean −1.36 (95% CI, −1.87 to −0.85) over the placebo group which had a mean 0.69 (95% CI, −0.03 to 1.41; effect size = 0.06). There were significant biochemical changes in serum total calcium, 25(OH)D and alkaline phosphatase.

Conclusions

The results above suggest there is a small but statistically significant clinical benefit to vitamin D treatment in patients with knee OA, although we recommend a long-term study to determine whether these changes are clinically important and whether they will be sustained with time. Further studies with long-term radiologic evaluations are needed.

Level of Evidence

Level I, therapeutic study. See the Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no funding or commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at King George Medical University, Lucknow, India.
A comment to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11999-013-3269-z.