Study: Weekly Vitamin D Does Not Affect Pediatric Development, Growth After 3 Years


A deficiency in the supplement is thought to be associated with early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis, obesity, and stunting.

In school-aged children with a high baseline vitamin D status, weekly oral vitamin D3 supplements for 3 years did not influence body composition, growth, or pubertal development, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The study was a secondary analysis of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial (NCT02276755). Investigators conducted the study from June 2016 to June 2019 at 18 grade schools in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Children aged 6 to 13 years at baseline were included.

Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be associated with early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary gonadal axis, obesity, and stunting. Investigators analyzing the study wanted to determine whether a weekly dose of oral vitamin D could influence body composition, linear growth, or pubertal development in school-aged children who live in settings where vitamin D deficiency is prevalent.

Investigators excluded individuals with a positive QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube assay result, conditions or medications associated with altered vitamin D metabolism, the intention to move from Ulaanbaatar within 4 years, signs of rickets, or use of vitamin D supplements.

There were 8851 individuals with a negative result included in the study, and all but 1 in the placebo group completed follow-up and were included in the present analysis. The data were analyzed from November 2021 to February 2022.

Investigators gave individuals a weekly oral dose of vitamin D3, at the 14,000 IU or on the placebo for 3 years.

Of the 8851 individuals, approximately 49.3% were female, and 92.2% were of Khalkh ethnicity. A total of 8453 individuals were vitamin D-deficient at baseline, and mean end-of-study 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were 31.0 ng/mL for those randomized to vitamin D and 10.7 ng/mL for those on the placebo.

Investigators found that the vitamin D supplements did not influence mean height for age, body mass index for age, fat-free mass, percentage body fat, Tanner scores, or waist-to-height ratio, . Additionally, there was no influence overall, or within subgroups defined by baseline 25(OH)D concentration less than 10 ng/mL or 10 ng/mL or greater, estimated calcium intake less than 500 mg/d or for 500 mg/d or greater, or for males compared with females.


Ganmaa D, Bromage S, Khudyakov P, Erdenenbaatar S, Delgererekh B, Martineau AR. Influence of vitamin D supplementation on growth, body composition, and pubertal development among school-aged children in an area with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.4581

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