Effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation on the outcome of pulmonary tuberculosis treatment in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Chin Med J (Engl). 2019 Dec 20;132(24):2950-2959. doi: 10.1097/CM9.0000000000000554.


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most debilitating diseases worldwide. Current studies have shown that vitamin D plays a significant role in host immune defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but clinical trials reported inconsistent results. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the literature to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation could improve the effect of anti-TB therapy.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from their inception to February 8th, 2019 for randomized controlled trials on vitamin D supplementation in patients with pulmonary TB receiving anti-TB therapy. The primary outcomes were time to sputum culture and smear conversion and proportion of participants with negative sputum culture. The secondary outcomes were clinical response to treatment and adverse events. A random-effects model was used to pool studies. Data were analyzed using RevMan 5.3 software.

Results: Five studies with a total of 1126 participants were included in our meta-analysis. Vitamin D supplementation did not shorten the time to sputum culture and smear conversion (hazard ratio [HR] 1.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.89-1.23, P = 0.60; HR 1.15, 95% CI 0.93-1.41, P = 0.20, respectively) and did not lead to an increase in the proportion of participants with negative sputum culture (relative risk [RR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.97-1.11, P = 0.32). However, it reduced the time to sputum culture conversion in the sub-group of participants with TaqI tt genotype (HR 8.09, 95% CI 1.39-47.09, P = 0.02) and improved the multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB sputum culture conversion rate (RR 2.40, 95% CI 1.11-5.18, P = 0.03). There was no influence on secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation had no beneficial effect on anti-TB treatment, but it reduced the time to sputum culture conversion in participants with tt genotype of the TaqI vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism and improved the MDR TB sputum culture conversion rate.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • VDR protein, human
  • Vitamin D