Vitamin D offers no health benefits according to new research. The vitamin’s merit that healthy pill-takers have hoped for, will not protect them from cancer, cardiovascular and bone problems without having a predisposed vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is produced naturally when bare skin is exposed to sunlight. A number of factors attribute to how much an individual body produces including time of day, time of year, skin type and geography. Foods such as beef liver, fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, fortified dairy and grain products also contain the vitamin.
Currently, research has shown that there is little validation to prescribing vitamin D to healthy people in order to prevent fractures, heart attack, stroke or cancer. According to University of Ackland’s lead study author, Dr. Mark Bolland, taking vitamin D supplements as a preventative could be deemed a controversial step.
For the New Zealand study, researchers attained data from 44 reports of 40 different “randomized controlled” trials that lasted longer than a year. Participants were mostly women aged in their 70s or 80s. Dr. Bolland concluded that after examining the data, that the research needs a different focus. Instead, emphasis should be placed on the progress of “evidence-based cutoff points” for inadequate amounts of vitamin D.
Most physicians agree with Dr. Bolland and his colleague’s findings. A body deficient in vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, bone pain, and an increased probability of death from cancer, heart disease and cognitive impairment in the aged. However, taking the vitamin does not lower the incidence of these outcomes. The study did indicate an increased risk for hip fractures in people taking the supplements.
This is only one of the latest studies that call into question whether vitamin supplements provide any health benefits in adults that are in good physical shape. Approximately 50 percent of U.S. adults take vitamin D supplements, according to the January report of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
In a “futility analysis,” researchers also examined the probability of whether future studies will present enough proof to overturn the recent findings. They determined that any forthcoming vitamin D studies would most likely not alter the recent findings.
Conversely, for patients with health problems such as Parkinson ’s disease, a recent study published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease discovered that vitamin D shows to function in a key role of the central nervous system. It assists with “neurodevelopment and stabilizing mitochondrial function. The supplement may help inhibit or postpone the initial symptoms of cognitive impairment and depression.
Similar studies to the Parkinson’s disease one have shown that vitamin D may help individuals with fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. There have also been calls for stricter labeling on vitamin D supplements due to the report that there is an increased risk of bone fractures.
The latest findings have not yet deterred health-conscious adults, vitamin supplements in the United States are a $28 billion business. However, after this recent study, it seems the message is clear. In general, otherwise-healthy people will find that taking vitamin D does not offer any protective health benefits and should instead, find a natural source of sunshine and diet.
by Dawn Levesque