Epidemiological studies have shown that low vitamin D status results in impaired immune function and is associated with the prevalence of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce circulating concentrations of inflammatory markers in such conditions. However, the possible beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation in the general population, particularly for those individuals living at high latitudes where hypovitaminosis D is common during wintertime, remains unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation using doses of 5, 10, and 15 μg/d cholecalciferol (D3) compared with placebo on cytokine concentrations throughout winter in apparently healthy younger (aged 20-40 y) and older (aged ≥64 y) adults. A total of 211 younger and 202 older adults completed the 22-wk intervention (from October to March) with >85% compliance. Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol [25(OH)D3], high sensitivity C-reactive protein, IL-6, IL-10, soluble CD40 ligand, TGFβ, TNFα, and fibrinogen were measured using ELISA. 25(OH)D3 concentrations significantly decreased in the placebo and 5 and 10/d μg D3 groups in the younger cohort and in the placebo group in the older cohort. Whereas 15 μg/d D3 supplementation maintained 25(OH)D3 concentrations in the younger cohort (baseline, 75.9 nmol/L; postintervention, 69.0 nmol/L) and significantly increased concentrations in the older cohort (baseline, 55.1 nmol/L; postintervention, 73.9 nmol/L), it had no significant effect on cytokine concentrations (ANCOVA, P > 0.05). The long-term effects of low vitamin D status remain to be elucidated and optimization of vitamin D status in otherwise healthy individuals may potentially have lasting beneficial effects on the immune system.
Barnes, M. S., Horigan, G., Cashman, K. D., Hill, T. R., Forsythe, L. K., Lucey, A. J., ... Wallace, J. (2011). Maintenance of Wintertime Vitamin D Status with Cholecalciferol Supplementation Is Not Associated with Alterations in Serum Cytokine Concentrations among Apparently Healthy Younger or Older Adults. The Journal of nutrition, 141(3), 476-81. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.110.131516