Vitamin D supplements do not boost bone health: Lancet

Leslie Hanson
October 8, 2018

They said their study was the largest meta-analysis ever carried out, with data from 81 randomised controlled trials.

The Department of Health now advises everyone to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months to improve bone health if they don't get enough exposure to the sun.

The authors noted that the data were collected differently for falls in different trials, which might affect the study findings, while they also pointed out that smaller trials of shorter duration tended to find stronger effects of vitamin D compared to larger trials of longer duration.

Bolland explained that this has doubled the volume of information available on vitamin D and bone health. These can occur due to vitamin D deficiency.

THERE is little justification in using vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health, scientists have suggested.

Vitamin D supplements do not protect bones and muscles, according to an overview of research which concludes that NHS advice should be changed.


The authors of the study are urging physicians, prescribers and the government to stop advising people to take regular vitamin D supplements.

Lead author Mark J Bolland from the University of Auckland in New Zealand said, "Our analysis finds that vitamin D does not prevent fractures, falls or improve bone mineral density, whether at high or low dose".

Egg is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. While egg white is richer in vitamin D content, it is best to eat the whole egg to stay healthy. 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. The differences were in the effects of higher versus lower doses of vitamin D.

In addition, most of the studies covered in the new review included women aged 65 and older who took more than 800 IUs (international units) of vitamin D daily. 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.

The study, published by Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, is the first major review of the topic since 2014.

"What is important to keep in mind is that those with low vitamin D were not represented in this meta-analysis, and vitamin D supplementation - repletion, actually - is still necessary for those with low vitamin D levels, regardless of age", Sood said.

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