Using vitamin D supplements 'does not prevent fractures or falls'

Scientists said that doctors should stop recommending the supplements after a study found no evidence of their benefits

Scientists said that doctors should stop recommending the supplements after a study found no evidence of their benefitsCHARLOTTE BALL PA

The authors of the report said: "Our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation does not prevent fractures or falls, or have clinically meaningful effects on bone mineral density".

Vitamin D supplements have always been touted as a way to improve bone health and possibly ward off the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis in older adults.

Based on these facts, researcher Dr. Alison Avenell, a clinical chair in health services research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, suggests that the recommended guidelines of vitamin D supplements for bone health should be changed.

"Calcium supplements on their own have minimal effect on bone mineral density and fracture, and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease", Avenell said. 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'.

"On the strength of existing evidence, we believe there is little justification for more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes".

Professor Louis Levy, PHE's head of nutrition science, said: "This study highlights the importance of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D to reduce the risk of poor musculoskeletal health".

In the study, the authors pooled data from 81 randomised controlled trials.

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The analysis found that vitamin D supplementation did not reduce total fractures, hip fractures or falls by the 15% defined as a clinically meaningful threshold.

Moreover, new research covered studies that included women aged 65 and older who took vitamin D supplements on daily basis.

Cheese comes loaded with vitamin D and calcium that are required for strengthening bones and teeth.

More than half of the trials were done in populations with baseline concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD [2]) of less than 50 nmol/L (a cut-off often considered to indicate low vitamin D levels), but only 6% were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency (a baseline 25OHD of less than 25 nmol/L). These can occur due to vitamin D deficiency.

According to Bolland and his team, it is time that we stop advocating vitamin D supplementation for osteoporosis; a bone condition where the bones become weak and brittle and tend to fracture easily. 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 research was funded by Health Research Council of New Zealand.

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