Vitamin D Supplementation Modestly Reduces Serum Iron Indices of Healthy Arab Adolescents
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to affect iron status via decreased calcitriol production, translating to decreased erythropoiesis. The present study aimed to determine for the first time whether vitamin D supplementation can affect iron levels among Arab adolescents. A total of 125 out of the initial 200 Saudi adolescents with vitamin D deficiency (serum 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L) were selected from the Vitamin D-School Project of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Cluster
... Cluster randomization was done in schools, and students received either vitamin D tablets (1000 IU/day) (N = 53, mean age 14.1 ± 1.0 years) or vitamin D-fortified milk (40IU/200mL) (N = 72, mean age 14.8 ± 1.4 years). Both groups received nutritional counseling. Anthropometrics, glucose, lipids, iron indices, and 25(OH)D were measured at baseline and after six months. Within group analysis showed that post-intervention, serum 25(OH)D significantly increased by as much as 50%, and a parallel decrease of −42% (p-values <0.001 and 0.002, respectively) was observed in serum iron in the tablet group. These changes were not observed in the control group. Between-group analysis showed a clinically significant increase in serum 25(OH)D (p = 0.001) and decrease in iron (p < 0.001) in the tablet group. The present findings suggest a possible inhibitory role of vitamin D supplementation in the iron indices of healthy adolescents whose 25(OH)D levels are sub-optimal but not severely deficient, implying that the causal relationship between both micronutrients may be dependent on the severity of deficiency, type of iron disorder, and other vascular conditions that are known to affect hematologic indices. Well-designed, randomized trials are needed to confirm the present findings.