The effects of subclinical vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D supplementation on oral glucose tolerance and secretion of pancreatic hormones were studied in 10 diphenylhydantoin-treated epileptic patients and 15 geriatric patients. Their mean serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 decreased markedly, but returned to normal within 2 weeks of oral supplementation with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. The serum concentration of ionized calcium was within the normal range before treatment, and remained unchanged. Serum parathyroid hormone was increased during vitamin D deficiency, but decreased significantly (p less than 0.05) afterwards. In vitamin D-deficient epileptic and geriatric patients, the 2- and 3-h insulin levels after glucose ingestion were increased when compared with control values, and glucagon secretion was not suppressed by glucose. Oral glucose tolerance of both groups of patients did not change after 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 supplementation. Insulin secretion remained unchanged in geriatric patients, but was reduced to normal values in epileptic patients. Glucagon suppressibility by glucose was partly restored after vitamin D supplementation in epileptic patients but not in geriatric patients. In contrast to that observed in severely vitamin D-deficient rats or rabbits, correction of subclinical vitamin D deficiency failed to enhance insulin secretion or to improve glucose tolerance in man.