BACKGROUND: Depressive symptoms and impaired physical functioning are prevalent among older adults. Supplementation with vitamin D might improve both conditions, particularly in persons with low vitamin D status. OBJECTIVE: The D-Vitaal study primarily aimed to investigate the effect of vitamin D supplementation on depressive symptoms, functional limitations, and physical performance in a high-risk older population with low vitamin D status. Secondary aims included examining the effect of vitamin D supplementation on anxiety symptoms, cognitive functioning, mobility, handgrip strength, and health-related quality of life. METHODS: This study was a randomized placebo-controlled trial with 155 participants aged 60-80 y who had clinically relevant depressive symptoms, ≥1 functional limitations, and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations of 15-50/70 nmol/L (depending on season). Participants received 1200 IU/d vitamin D3 (n = 77) or placebo tablets (n = 78) for 12 mo. Serum 25(OH)D was measured at baseline and 6 mo; outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6 mo, and 12 mo. Linear mixed-models analyses were conducted to assess the effect of the intervention. RESULTS: The supplementation increased serum 25(OH)D concentrations in the intervention group to a mean ± SD of 85 ± 16 nmol/L compared with 43 ± 18 nmol/L in the placebo group after 6 mo (P < 0.001). No relevant differences between the treatment groups were observed regarding depressive symptoms, functional limitations, physical performance, or any of the secondary outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Supplementation with 1200 IU/d vitamin D for 12 mo had no effect on depressive symptoms and physical functioning in older persons with relatively low vitamin D status, clinically relevant depressive symptoms, and poor physical functioning. This trial is registered with the Netherlands Trial Register (www.trialregister.nl) under NTR3845.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1130
Number of pages12
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • 25(OH)D
  • depressive symptoms
  • functional limitations
  • older adults
  • physical functioning
  • physical performance
  • prevention
  • randomized clinical trial
  • supplementation
  • vitamin D

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