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Vitamin D Supplements Don't Help Bone Health, Meta-Study Finds
08 October 2018, 05:07 | Silvia Roy
Vitamin D pills would only be useful for high risk groups
The study, carried out by researchers from the Universities of Auckland and Aberdeen, was a meta-analysis of 81 clinical trials, including over 53,000 patients, looking at the effects of vitamin D on fracture rates, falls and bone mineral density.
The evidence is now so clear that there is little point investigating further and doctors should stop telling millions of people to take supplements, the scientists say.
They recommended that public health bodies stop promoting vitamin D supplements as having a meaningful impact on a person's health.
Vitamin D supplements have always been touted as a way to improve bone health and possibly ward off the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis in older adults.
"Our meta-analysis finds that vitamin D does not prevent fractures, falls or improve bone mineral density, whether at high or low dose", Bolland said, according to The Guardian. Even when lower thresholds were assessed, there was still reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce falls by 7.5% and total fractures by 5%. Therefore, there is little justification for the use of vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health, and clinical guidelines should reflect these findings'.
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Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight and a balanced diet.
Critics of the Lancet study noted that only 6% of the trials were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency, who would stand to benefit most from supplementation.
Bolland explained that this has doubled the volume of information available on vitamin D and bone health.
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.
There was no clinically meaningful effect of vitamin D supplementation on total fracture, hip fracture, or falls.
Researchers claim that taking supplements is only useful for high-risk groups who want to prevent health conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia.
There's also existing evidence that vitamin D helps prevent cancer or heart disease, she added. The same is recommended for pregnant women and older adults.
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.
Vitamin D is found in a variety of foods.
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