January 25, 2014
Researchers Find No Significant Health Benefits From Vitamin D Supplements
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Healthy people taking vitamin D supplements are unlikely to see any significant impact when it comes to preventing broken bones or cardiovascular conditions, claims new research appearing in the latest edition of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
According to the AFP news agency, the study authors reviewed more than 40 previous trials in order to determine whether or not use of these vitamin supplements achieved a benchmark of reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer or bone fractures by at least 15 percent.
“Previous research had seen a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and poor health in these areas,” the news agency said. However, the new study “strengthens arguments that vitamin D deficiency is usually the result of ill health – not the cause of it,” and the authors report that “there is ‘little justification’ for doctors to prescribe vitamin D supplements as a preventive measure for these disorders.”
All told, the investigators reported that the use of vitamin D supplements failed to significantly reduce a person’s risk of death, heart disease, cancer or stroke among the study participants. Likewise, in both healthy and hospitalized men and women, it also failed to result in a noticeable reduction of hip fracture risk, according to FoxNews.com.
In their study, the researchers reviewed randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplement use both with and without calcium, BBC News explained. The research was led by University of Auckland senior research fellow Dr. Mark Bolland and funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
“Previous research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor health and early death,” but the new evidence suggests that “that low levels of vitamin D are a result, not a cause, of poor health,” HealthDay News explained. Likewise, in an editorial accompanying the paper, one university professor said that there is legitimate concern that using the supplements could cause harm in healthy men and women.
“The impression that vitamin D is a sunshine vitamin and that increasing doses lead to improved health is far from clear,” Karl Michaelsson of the department of surgical sciences at Uppsala University, told BBC News. He urged caution when it came to taking vitamin D supplements until scientists can glean more information about the effect of doing so.