Vitamin D supplements don’t improve bone health major study finds Getty Images
08 October, 2018, 05:10
An analysis of older studies notes that taking either high or low doses of vitamin Dsupplements didn't improve bone density.
Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said this new study should convince doctors that vitamin D supplements don't have a role in maintaining healthy bones, but they do have other benefits.
Vitamin D supplements do not improve bone mineral density or prevent fractures or falls in adults, finds a large study that advises health professionals to stop recommending the supplements to most patients.
The analysis found that vitamin D supplementation did not reduce total fractures, hip fractures or falls by the 15% defined as a clinically meaningful threshold. Even when lower thresholds were assessed, there was still reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce falls by 7.5 percent and total fracture by five percent.
However, Vitamin D supplements can prevent some disorders including rickets which is a childhood bone disease. She is clinical chair in health services research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Most studies included women aged over 65 with serum vitamin D levels of less than 50nmol/L and taking vitamin D doses of more than 800IU per day.
According to the researchers, there is weak evidence that justifies Vitamin D supplements' efficiency in improving bone health.
Bolland suggests doctors and health officials now recommending the vitamin to older patients as a way to prevent osteoporosis or brittle bones should stop. Most of our vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight. This thinking is reminiscent of the fervour that supported the widespread use of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E years ago, and all of those vitamin trials later proved to be clinically negative.
The authors said in the paper that they believed the results mean that there is "no justification" for further trials of vitamin D on musculoskeletal outcomes as there is no longer any ambiguity about its benefits.
They recommended that public health bodies stop promoting vitamin D supplements as having a meaningful impact on a person's health.
Because of the small number of trials with baseline 25OHD below 25 nmol/L (total of 831 participants), more research might be needed into the effect of vitamin D supplementation at these levels.
The majority of the trials that were analysed looked at vitamin D alone (not prescribed in conjunction with calcium supplements) and were of one year or less.
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