Vitamin D and Osteoarthritis: An Updated Clinical Summary and Review

Ray Marks


BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis remains the most widespread disabling musculoskeletal condition affecting the wellbeing of many older adults. AIM: This work aimed to update and document findings published in the English language concerning what is known about vitamin D and osteoarthritis disease manifestations and progression, an area of research that has produced confusing results.

QUESTIONS: Specifically examined were: (1) Whether the presence of inadequate serum vitamin D levels predisposes an older adult to more profound osteoarthritis disability than adequate levels; and (2) Whether applying vitamin D as a supplement to older adults with osteoarthritis and coexisting vitamin D deficiencies is likely to ameliorate osteoarthritis disability in some way.

METHODS: To achieve the current aims, all relevant English language research reports published in the last 40 years, with an emphasis on data from January 1, 2018 up until January 16 2021, and located in the major data bases of PUBMED, Scopus, and Web of Science, were sought. A narrative depiction and synthesis of the key points that emerged from this diverse body of literature was then undertaken.

RESULTS: Findings showed that regardless of study type, a vitamin D deficit that may prevail in a fair proportion of older osteoarthritis cases may produce less than favorable results if the deficiency is not compensated for. However, very few studies are sufficiently well-designed and a number show no uniform consensus in this regard.

CONCLUSION: More well-designed research may help to more firmly establish the possible protective, reparative or aversive role of vitamin D in mediating osteoarthritis and whether supplementation is desirable in vitamin D deficient cases.


Aging Adults; Disability; Osteoarthritis; Outcomes; Supplementation; Vitamin D

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