Vitamin D: meta-analysis suggests lipid benefit in certain patients

  • Dibaba DT
  • Nutr Rev
  • 13 Aug 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Vitamin D supplementation might offer some lipid profile benefit in patients with hypercholesterolemia and vitamin D insufficiency who are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • This meta-analysis found decreased serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides with supplementation.

Why this matters

  • Vitamin D’s once promising reputation as a supplement has taken some hits, with limited CVD-related benefits recently reported.
  • In a specific patient population, perhaps it has something to offer.

Key results

  • For each lipid measure, standardized mean differences (95% CIs) for change from baseline to follow-up between placebo and supplement were:
    • Total cholesterol: −0.17 (−0.28 to −0.06).
    • LDL-C: −0.12 (−0.23 to −0.01).
    • Triglycerides: −0.12 (−0.25 to 0.01). 
    • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: −0.19 (−0.44 to 0.06; not significant).
  • Greater benefit seen in patients who had existing vitamin D insufficiency.
  • Because of some heterogeneity scores, the authors removed some studies that appeared to be outliers but got similar results.
  • In one further analysis of triglyceride results because of implied publication bias, the effect disappeared. 
  • Supplementation effects appeared to wane with time in a comparison of trial durations ≤6 months vs >6 months.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis, 41 randomized controlled trials, total 3434 participants.
  • Funding: None.

Limitations

  • Short follow-up in most included trials.