Vitamin D Supplements Don't Help Bone Health, According To Huge Study

Scientists said that doctors should stop recommending the supplements after a study found no evidence of their benefits

The vitamin has always been associated with a decreased risk of a number of conditions, such as osteoporosis and hypertension, in addition to keeping bones strong by helping the body absorb calcium - which is why many use it during the dark winter months. The conclusion follows one of the largest reviews ever of vitamin D. Furthermore, the study found no differences in the effects of higher versus lower doses of vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplementation may not improve bone density or prevent fractures and falls in adults, a large new analysis suggests.

The researchers are calling for changes in the clinical guidelines of osteoporosis management. Since then, more than 30 new trials have analysed the effect of vitamin D on bone health, doubling the available evidence.

Vitamin D supplements do not protect bones and muscles, according to an overview of research which concludes that NHS advice should be changed. Healthcare providers have long recommended people take vitamin D supplements for a variety of reasons, such as improving bone density in older people and ensuring sufficient vitamin D intake during fall and winter months.

More than half of the trials were done in populations with baseline concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD [2]) of less than 50 nmol/L (a cut-off often considered to indicate low vitamin D levels), but only 6% were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency (a baseline 25OHD of less than 25 nmol/L).

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Most included women aged over the age of 65 (77% of trials) who lived in the community and who received daily doses of more than 800 International Units per day (68% of trials).

However, Vitamin D supplements can prevent some disorders including rickets which is a childhood bone disease.

Contrary to popular belief, taking vitamin D supplements don't help bone health. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency include those with little or no sun exposure, such as nursing home residents who are indoors all the time, or those who always cover their skin when outside, Avenell said. Within 3 years, we might have that answer because there are approximately 100 000 participants now enrolled in randomised, placebo-controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation.

For more on vitamin D, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "During autumn and winter, those not consuming foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D should consider a 10 microgram supplement".

The study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

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