Vitamin D supplements do not help improve bone health after all. Researchers reviewed trials to figure out the effects of the "sunshine vitamin."
Vitamin D Supplements: Are They Necessary?
Vitamin D is responsible for regulating the calcium and phosphate in the body, resulting in stronger bones and teeth. It also helps prevent the flu and, according to previous research, certain types of cancer.
The best way to naturally get the perfect amount of vitamin D needed by the body to stay healthy through exposure to the sunlight. It can also be found in certain foods such as fishes, eggs, and milk.
However, not everyone gets their recommended daily dose of vitamin D, especially during the autumn and winter months when sunlight is scarce. The general advice is to take supplements in order to avoid deficiency leading to weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness. Some people also take vitamin D supplements in order to prevent the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis.
To many, buying and taking vitamin D supplements would be a waste of money and time. A new study analyzed a total of 81 existing trials involving vitamin D supplements and bone health. It found that people who are not deficient will not likely see any benefits.
Vitamin D Review
Researchers found that supplements could not prevent fractures and falls, even when administered a high dose or a low dose of the vitamin. They also confirmed that supplements do not have significant effects on a person's bone density.
They hope that their findings, which were published on The Lancet, urge public health officials to reconsider their current advice to use supplements in place of sunlight.
"Clinical guidelines should be changed to reflect these findings," stated Mark Bolland of University of Auckland, the lead author of the study. "On the strength of existing evidence, we believe there is little justification for more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes."
The National Institute of Health says that children younger than 12 months old need 400 IU of vitamin D every day. Everyone else, up to the age of 70, are recommended to take 600 IU of vitamin D to maintain bone health and calcium metabolism. The elderly (age 70 and above) need 800 IU daily intake of the vitamin.