Vitamin D and Osteoarthritis: What is the Consensus?

Ray Marks


BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis, a painful irreversible disabling joint disease, and one that predominantly affects the cartilage tissue lining freely moving joints is rapidly increasing in prevalence among older populations.

QUESTIONS: This work aimed to critically explore and document all published data in the English language pertaining to the questions of: 1) Whether vitamin D is an important correlate to consider in the context of future attempts to ameliorate or prevent osteoarthritis; and 2) Whether applying vitamin D as a supplement can potentially ameliorate the many functional problems and pain associated with osteoarthritis in some way, where deficiencies of the product are evident.

METHODS: A comprehensive overview of all relevant English language research reports published over the last 50 years and located in the major data bases of PUBMED, Scopus, and Web of Science, was undertaken. Relevant data sought were those addressing the questions above and included basic as well as clinical studies, regardless of research design. A narrative depiction of the key points that emerged from this diverse body of literature was then undertaken, rather than any systematic review.

RESULTS: Findings showed that regardless of study type, no clear conclusion can currently be forged with respect to question one. However, sufficient data, coupled with prevailing study flaws, imply more research in this realm is warranted. 

CONCLUSION: While no consensus prevails concerning any area of the research on this topic, more research to delineate the possible protective, reparative or aversive role of vitamin D in mediating articular cartilage and overall joint status appears highly desirable and will likely prove of immense clinical utility in the future. 


Articular Cartilage, Disability, Intervention, Osteoarthritis, Pain, Vitamin D

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