Vitamin D supplementation during winter: Effects on stress resilience in a randomized control trial
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNutrients 2020, 12(11), 3258 10.3390/nu12113258
Vitamin D status may be important for stress resilience. This study investigated the effects of vitamin D supplements during winter on biological markers of stress resilience such as psychophysiological activity, serotonin, and cortisol in a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Eighty-six participants were randomly assigned to the Intervention (vitamin D) or Control (placebo) groups. Before and after the intervention participants were exposed to an experimental stress procedure. Psychophysiological activity was measured during three main conditions: baseline, stress, and recovery. Fasting blood samples were taken in the morning and saliva samples were collected at seven different time points across 24 h. Prior to intervention both groups had normal/sufficient vitamin D levels. Both groups showed a normal pattern of psychophysiological responses to the experimental stress procedure (i.e., increased psychophysiological responses from resting baseline to stress-condition, and decreased psychophysiological responses from stress-condition to recovery; all p < 0.009). Post-intervention, the Intervention group showed increased vitamin D levels (p < 0.001) and normal psychophysiological responses to the experimental stress procedure (p < 0.001). Importantly, the Control group demonstrated a classic nadir in vitamin D status post-intervention (spring) (p < 0.001) and did not show normal psychophysiological responses. Thus, physiologically the Control group showed a sustained stress response. No significant effects of vitamin D were found on serotonin and cortisol.