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RCT: Vitamin D may help heal leg ulcers

A new randomized controlled trial out of Brazil suggests that vitamin D may help in healing leg ulcers.

The study, led by Claudine Juliana Burkiewicz and colleagues out of Evangelical University Hospital of Curitiba, examined whether vitamin D had any beneficial effect on the healing of leg ulcers versus placebo.

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About Brant Cebulla

Brant Cebulla was a staff member for the Vitamin D Council from May 2011 to April 2014. He has keen interests in nutrition and exercise.

8 Responses to RCT: Vitamin D may help heal leg ulcers

  1. Their data actually showed that the ulcers of the vitamin D group healed 4X faster than the placebo group. The description seems to have gotten scrambled in translation, but the data shows a 38% reduction of ulcer size in the vitamin D group but only a 9% reduction in the placebo group. Details, along with previous paper on the same study are at http://is.gd/ulcersd

  2. Brant Cebulla says:

    Henry, I think the translation was fine. Since they were working in medians and not means, really have to dig into the results.

    In the vitamin D group, the median size of ulcer started at 25cm2, then reduced to a median 18cm2. For placebo group, the numbers were 27cm2 to 24.5cm2, respectively. I think this is where you’re getting your 38% and 9%. However, these findings were not statistically significant (p=.71, .79), so I think it’s unfair to make too much of total reduction in ulcer size.

    When the researchers analyzed patients on a case-by-case basis, measuring ulcer size pre-treatment and post-treatment, the median patient’s ulcer size decreased by 4cm2 in the vitamin D group, the median patient’s ulcer size increased by .75cm2 in the placebo group. The statistical significance was much better here (p=.06, considered “trending”).

    Also, not sure where you’re pulling the “4x faster” number from? Since we do not know if either groups’ ulcers fully healed (in a condition that may take several years to treat), I’m not sure how you would arrive at “4x faster treatment”, as that somewhat implies that both the vitamin D group and ulcer group were well on their way to recovery, when we don’t know that to be the case.

  3. silvalli says:

    They should have reported the D level at the end of the study; they should have done a dose-dependent study going up to 50,000IU per day; and they should have administered the D daily.

  4. Brant Cebulla says:

    silvalli, I think for a pilot study, this was great. For there being little research in the area, it would have been hard justifying more study numbers and a more extensive and complicated protocol.

  5. eelisabethpuur@gmail.com says:

    Brant, I am not sure I follow you here. In Sweden we use centimeter, cm and 25 cm is very much being a diameter of an ulcer. “median size of ulcer started at 25cm”

    To get cm -> inch x 2.54=cm – to get inch -> cm x 0.39 = inch

    Could be a matter of translation again or converting?

  6. Brant Cebulla says:

    This study also used the metric system, and I believe I reported as such?

  7. eelisabethpuur@gmail.com says:

    Brant, sorry, I have to insist, something is wrong. I don´t think I ever saw a leg ulcer as big as 25 cm in diameter, means 9.8 inches diameter. I once worked in a ward where some kind of skin transplants to heal leg ulcers were made. Is it even possible to heal a leg ulcer of that enormous size, as 25 cm diameter?

    When I read the study, I read square-cm, cm2. They count area, not diameter. A 25 cm2 ulcer is a pretty big one, but I have seen them. Now it makes more sense to me. But I have to admit, everytime I see inches, galons or whatever, I still have to look it up, to be sure I get it right. It is too bad we cannot have the same measurement system in the world.

  8. Brant Cebulla says:

    Ah, yes, you are correct. It is area, not diameter.