A new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology suggests that no evidence supports the consumption of vitamin D supplements to fight chronic disease and early death.
Opposing this, a study recently recommended that high vitamin D intake during pregnancy may increase offspring muscle strength. Other research harbinger the vitamin as a safety measure against heart attack, stroke, bone fractures and cancer.
The Auckland University report analysed multiple existing studies focused on the effects of vitamin D. Led by Dr. Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, team of researchers at the University inspected 40 high-quality trials to see if supplements met a yardstick of plummeting risk of chronic problems by 15 per cent or more. The research showed no major effect of vitamin D supplementation on bone mineral density.
“The take-away message is that there is little justification currently for prescribing vitamin D to prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer, or fractures in otherwise-healthy people living in the community,” said Bolland.
In December 2013, a controversial review of multivitamin studies also found healthy people likely won’t find protective advantages and heart disease and cancer after consuming multivitamins.
About 12 per cent of people aged over 50 – 5 per cent of the population in New Zealand gets state-funded vitamin D supplements. This figure excludes over-the-counter purchases.
In residential care facilities, 74 per cent of elderly residents are given the supplements, which are even more rampant in the US.
Supplements market in Britain worth £700million a year.
Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Other sources are eggs, fortified fat spreads, fish and powdered milk. It is also consumable as supplements.
The investigators also used a “futility analysis.” It is a tool that examines the likelihood that future studies will provide enough proofs to overturn the findings in this study. But they decided that this would not be the case.
The Institute of Medicine, which reviewed research on vitamin D in 2010, says most adults should get 600 to 800 IUs, depending on age -though those experts said most people could get that much without supplements.
Dr Colin Michie, consultant senior lecturer in paediatrics and chairman of the nutrition committee at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, says the study puts Vitamin D supplements into context.
Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Health Supplements Information Service was disappointed that the review did not address the essential role of vitamin D in bone and musculoskeletal health.
Dark skin people and people who wear full-body coverings, as well as pale-skinned people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
“Without stringent indications -i.e. supplementing those without true vitamin D insufficiency – there is a legitimate fear that vitamin D supplementation might actually cause net harm, ” wrote Professor Karl Michaëlsson, a researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden.