Daily vitamin D pill 'makes no difference to strength of bones'

Daily vitamin D pill 'makes no difference to strength of bones'

"Our meta-analysis finds that vitamin D does not prevent fractures, falls or improve bone mineral density whether at high or low dose".

It seems that this was the largest meta-analysis study that has ever been performed with data coming from 81 randomized controlled trials. Vitamin D supplements have always been recommended for older people to treat or prevent osteoporosis, a bone-loss condition, with some early evidence suggesting benefits for bone health.

There was reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce total fractures, hip fractures, or falls by 15 percent, a clinically meaningful threshold. When the researchers reduced the thresholds, they found that vitamin D was still ineffective for falls, at a threshold of 7.5%, and also total fractures at a threshold of 5%.

However, according to the scientists, Vitamin D supplementation remains the ideal solution for high-risk groups of patients exposed to rare conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia which are both triggered by Vitamin D deficiency.

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But, as the researchers of the new study reported, it's much better to take Vitamin D from natural sources than relying on supplementation.

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. The differences were in the effects of higher versus lower doses of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body when we are exposed to sunlight, but as we cover up in the colder winter months and see less daylight, some people develop a deficiency. Therefore, there is little justification for the use of vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health, and clinical guidelines should reflect these findings'. The authors should be complimented on an important updated analysis on musculoskeletal health, but already I can hear the fervent supporters-what about the extra-skeletal benefits of vitamin D?

"We know from meta-analyses that have managed to obtain individual participant data that the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation tend to be most marked in people who have the lowest vitamin D levels to start with", said Adrian Martineau, clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London. 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.

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