Vitamin D supplements, long pushed as benefiting bone health, can’t be justified for most people except perhaps for those at high risk of osteoporosis or brittle bone disease, according to a new meta-study published on Thursday in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.
An international team of researchers specializing in studies of vitamin D compiled the report after analyzing 81 separate studies on the subject and established there is no justifiable reason to supplement with vitamin D for bone health,
The study, the biggest review of the evidence ever carried out, was led by Professors Mark Bolland and Andrew Grey of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Prof Alison Avenell of Aberdeen University.
“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.
Over the years, experts have consistently recommended vitamin D be supplemented in the diet to improve bone health and protect against fractures and breaks.
For example, Michael F. Holick noted in a 1996 report in the Journal of Nutrition that a vitamin D deficiency could case metabolic bone disease, especially in the elderly.
A study published just last year, led by Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao of Tianjin Hospital in northeastern China, and published last year, noted that fractures were a serious concern among adults older than 50, with 40 percent of women in that age group prone to suffering at least one “major osteoporotic fracture.”
The American Bone Health organization recommended that people supplement with calcium and vitamin D according to their age.
But the last major review of vitamin D supplementation for bone health was carried out in 2014, and Bolland noted that things have changed in four years.
“More than 30 randomized controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health have been published, nearly doubling the evidence base available,” he said.
He said advice given by medical experts and the government on vitamin D supplements should be adjusted to reflect the recent findings.
“On the strength of existing evidence, we believe there is little justification for more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes,” he said.
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