Annual high-dose vitamin D3 and mental well-being: Randomised controlled trial

Sanders, Kerrie M., Stuart, Amanda L., Williamson, Elizabeth J., Jacka, Felice N., Dodd, Seetal, Nicholson, Geoff and Berk, Michael (2011) Annual high-dose vitamin D3 and mental well-being: Randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198 5: 357-364. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.087544

Author Sanders, Kerrie M.
Stuart, Amanda L.
Williamson, Elizabeth J.
Jacka, Felice N.
Dodd, Seetal
Nicholson, Geoff
Berk, Michael
Title Annual high-dose vitamin D3 and mental well-being: Randomised controlled trial
Formatted title
Annual high-dose vitamin D3 and mental well-being: Randomised controlled trial
Journal name British Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-1250
Publication date 2011-05-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.087544
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 198
Issue 5
Start page 357
End page 364
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, England, United Kingdom
Publisher Royal College of Psychiatrists
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Epidemiological evidence supports a relationship between vitamin D and mental well-being, although evidence from large-scale placebo-controlled intervention trials is lacking.


To examine if vitamin D supplementation has a beneficial effect on mood in community-dwelling older women; if a single annual large dose of vitamin D has a role in the prevention of depressive symptoms; and if there is an association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and mental health.


A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of women aged 70 or older (the Vital D Study: ISRCTN83409867 and ACTR12605000658617). Participants were randomly assigned to receive 500 000 IU vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) orally or placebo every autumn/winter for 3–5 consecutive years. The tools utilised at various time points were the General Health Questionnaire, the 12-item Short Form Health Survey, the Patient Global Impression–Improvement scale and the WHO Well-Being Index. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured in a subset of 102 participants.


In this non-clinical population, no significant differences between the vitamin D and placebo groups were detected in any of the measured outcomes of mental health. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in the vitamin D group were 41% higher than the placebo group 12 months following their annual dose. Despite this difference, scores from the questionnaires did not differ. Furthermore, there was no interaction between those on antidepressant/anxiety medication at baseline and the treatment groups.


The lack of improvement in indices of mental well-being in the vitamin D group does not support the hypothesis that an annual high dose of vitamin D3 is a practical intervention to prevent depressive symptoms in older community-dwelling women.
Keyword D Deficiency
Older Women
Geelong Osteoporosis
D Supplementation
D Insufficiency
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 509109
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
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