Study questions value of vitamin D supplements

Make sure to soak up plenty of sunshine, because it may be the best way to get your vitamin D. According to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, using supplements to receive vitamin D may not help people as previously thought.

Vitamin D supports bone health and has been linked to several health benefits. Prior studies have also claimed a lack of vitamin D can be harmful—causing ill health and even premature death.

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand challenge these claims based on a recent analysis that shows vitamin D may not help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, or stroke, among others. In fact, the researchers claim low levels of vitamin D don’t cause any conditions and only serve as a sign of unhealthiness.

The research team analyzed 40 randomized controlled trials that tested the use of vitamin D supplements, both with and without calcium supplements. These results were inconclusive regarding the role of vitamin D supplements lowering mortality rates in the general population by more than 5 percent.  However, the analysis did show that previous studies were missing the cause and effect relationship between vitamin D and poor health due to their design. A futility analysis was also performed to forecast whether future research will change these results, but the team determined even future studies will most likely not alter the current evidence.

One researcher noted it is still important to receive vitamin D, and that the average healthy person most likely obtains the proper amount through sunlight exposure.

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