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


Rahman, A and Waterhouse, M and Baxter, C and Duarte Romero, B and McLeod, DSA and Armstrong, BK and Ebeling, PR and English, DR and Hartel, G and Kimlin, MG and O'Connell, R and van der Pols, JC and Venn, AJ and Webb, PM and Whiteman, DC and Neale, RE, The effect of vitamin D supplementation on pain: an analysis of data from the D-Health randomized controlled trial, The British Journal of Nutrition pp. 1-19. ISSN 0007-1145 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0007114522003567


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bodily pain, chronic pain, PIQ-6, pain, randomized controlled trial, vitamin D, vitamin D3
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Endocrinology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Human pain management
UTAS Author:Venn, AJ (Professor Alison Venn)
ID Code:155436
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2023-02-20
Last Modified:2023-03-22
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