No evidence vitamin D supplements improve bone health, major analysis finds

You can improve bone density all the way through your life

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

In response, Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association, pointed out that numerous health organizations in the United States and around the world advocate for sufficient vitamin D intake, including the US FDA and guidelines in the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia.

Lead author Mark J Bolland from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, said that since the last major review of evidence in 2014, more than 30 randomised controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health had been published, "nearly doubling the evidence base available".

Prof Bolland said the advice given by doctors and government health departments around the world recommending vitamin D and saying it is helpful in osteoporosis or brittle bone disease, which afflicts older people, should now be altered.

The data was based on 81 randomized controlled tests with more than 53,000 people involved. Researchers reviewed trials to figure out the effects of the "sunshine vitamin".

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But critics of the study said that only 6 percent of the trials were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency, who would stand to benefit most from supplementation, according to a CNN report.

Contrary to current medical guidelines, a meta-analysis suggests that vitamin D supplements do not significantly improve bone health. The question why the vitamins work in vivo but not while taken as supplement is still widely open.

It is made in the body naturally as a result of exposure to sunlight, which is why people living in northern climates and those who cover up their skin may have lower levels than they should. It can also be found in certain foods such as fishes, eggs, and milk.

There are no differences between the effects of higher and lower doses of vitamin D, and there is little justification to use vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health, the study showed, advising health professionals to stop recommending the supplements to most patients. They also confirmed that supplements do not have significant effects on a person's bone density.

"I look forward to those studies giving us the last word on vitamin D", Professor Gallagher concluded.

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