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JAMA. 2019 Nov 8. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.17380. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Kidney Function in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Author information

Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
Kidney Research Institute, University of Washington, Seattle.
Puget Sound VA Healthcare System, Seattle, Washington.
Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.



Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common complication of type 2 diabetes that can lead to end-stage kidney disease and is associated with high cardiovascular risk. Few treatments are available to prevent CKD in type 2 diabetes.


To test whether supplementation with vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acids prevents development or progression of CKD in type 2 diabetes.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

Randomized clinical trial with a 2 × 2 factorial design conducted among 1312 adults with type 2 diabetes recruited between November 2011 and March 2014 from all 50 US states as an ancillary study to the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), coordinated by a single center in Massachusetts. Follow-up was completed in December 2017.


Participants were randomized to receive vitamin D3 (2000 IU/d) and omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid; 1 g/d) (n = 370), vitamin D3 and placebo (n = 333), placebo and omega-3 fatty acids (n = 289), or 2 placebos (n = 320) for 5 years.

Main Outcomes and Measures:

The primary outcome was change in glomerular filtration rate estimated from serum creatinine and cystatin C (eGFR) from baseline to year 5.


Among 1312 participants randomized (mean age, 67.6 years; 46% women; 31% of racial or ethnic minority), 934 (71%) completed the study. Baseline mean eGFR was 85.8 (SD, 22.1) mL/min/1.73 m2. Mean change in eGFR from baseline to year 5 was -12.3 (95% CI, -13.4 to -11.2) mL/min/1.73 m2 with vitamin D3 vs -13.1 (95% CI, -14.2 to -11.9) mL/min/1.73 m2 with placebo (difference, 0.9 [95% CI, -0.7 to 2.5] mL/min/1.73 m2). Mean change in eGFR was -12.2 (95% CI, -13.3 to -11.1) mL/min/1.73 m2 with omega-3 fatty acids vs -13.1 (95% CI, -14.2 to -12.0) mL/min/1.73 m2 with placebo (difference, 0.9 [95% CI, -0.7 to 2.6] mL/min/1.73 m2). There was no significant interaction between the 2 interventions. Kidney stones occurred among 58 participants (n = 32 receiving vitamin D3 and n = 26 receiving placebo) and gastrointestinal bleeding among 45 (n = 28 receiving omega-3 fatty acids and n = 17 receiving placebo).

Conclusions and Relevance:

Among adults with type 2 diabetes, supplementation with vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acids, compared with placebo, resulted in no significant difference in change in eGFR at 5 years. The findings do not support the use of vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for preserving kidney function in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT01684722.


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