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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5):1040-4.

Single-dose cholecalciferol suppresses the winter increase in parathyroid hormone concentrations in healthy older men and women: a randomized trial.

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  • 1Clinical Gerontology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, UK.


A randomized double-blind controlled trial of a single oral dose of 2.5 mg (100,000 IU) cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) was conducted in the winter in 189 healthy free-living men and women aged 63-76 y. The mean baseline serum concentration for 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 34.5 nmol/L and for parathyroid hormone 3.18 pmol/L. After 5 wk, mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were 60% higher in the treated than in the placebo group (P < 0.001). There was a 12% difference in parathyroid hormone concentrations in the treated compared with the placebo group (P < 0.001). No differences in serum calcium were seen. Findings suggest that 25-hydroxyvitamin D has a physiological role in the regulation of parathyroid secretion independent of serum calcium in healthy elderly people. Parathyroid concentrations rise and 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations decline with age. These results may have implications for the prevention of osteoporotic fractures that occur with increased frequency in winter and in elderly people.

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