Dose response to vitamin D supplementation in African Americans: Results of a 4-arm, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Kimmie Ng, Jamil B. Scott, Bettina F. Drake, Andrew T. Chan, Bruce W. Hollis, Paulette D. Chandler, Gary G. Bennett, Edward L. Giovannucci, Elizabeth Gonzalez-Suarez, Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Karen M. Emmons, Charles S. Fuchs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background: Association studies have suggested that lower circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] in African Americans may partially underlie higher rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer in this population. Nonetheless, the relation between vitamin D supplementation and 25(OH)D concentrations in African Americans remains undefined. Objective: Our primary objective was to determine the doseresponse relation between vitamin D and plasma 25(OH)D. Design: A total of 328 African Americans in Boston, MA, were enrolled over 3 winters from 2007 to 2010 and randomly assigned to receive a placebo or 1000, 2000, or 4000 IU vitamin D3/d for 3 mo. Subjects completed sociodemographic and dietary questionnaires, and plasma samples were drawn at baseline and 3 and 6 mo. Results: Median plasma 25(OH)D concentrations at baseline were 15.1, 16.2, 13.9, and 15.7 ng/mL for subjects randomly assigned to receive the placebo or 1000, 2000, or 4000 IU/d, respectively (P = 0.63). The median plasma 25(OH)D concentration at 3 mo differed significantly between supplementation arms at 13.7, 29.7, 34.8, and 45.9 ng/mL, respectively (P < 0.001). An estimated 1640 IU vitamin D3/d was needed to raise the plasma 25(OH)D concentration to ≥20 ng/mL in ≥97.5% of participants, whereas a dose of 4000 IU/d was needed to achieve concentrations ≥33 ng/mL in ≥80% of subjects. No significant hypercalcemia was seen in a subset of participants. Conclusions: Within African Americans, an estimated 1640 IU vitamin D3/d was required to achieve concentrations of plasma 25(OH)D recommended by the Institute of Medicine, whereas 4000 IU/d was needed to reach concentrations predicted to reduce cancer and cardio-vascular disease risk in prospective observational studies. These results may be helpful for informing future trials of disease prevention. This trial was registered at as NCT00585637.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-598
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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