A new review of Vitamin D supplement studies has concluded that Vitamin D, taken in supplement form, is not the health cure-all that it has recently been touted to be. This contradicts what has been a major trend lately in the promoting of Vitamin D supplements, especially for those in northern climates with less exposure to the sun.
Even Dr. Oz has recently promoted Vitamin D supplements on his show, and recommends that others consider it as well. What’s happened?
The medical journal, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, recently reviewed the findings from 40 previous studies on Vitamin D supplements. The overall conclusion was that “healthy people are very unlikely to get a benefit from it.” The study’s authors made some broad conclusions about supplements in general. Those statements included a suggestion that research monies should no longer be wasted trying to prove whether supplements and multivitamins prevent long-term diseases.
A December editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine went so far as to declare that the case should be closed on any further exploration on multivitamins and supplements.
Not All Doctors Agree
A controversy appears to be brewing, as not all doctors agree with the new findings. USA Today reports that Professor of Medicine Michael Holick, of Boston University, doesn’t give much credence to the Lancet’s analysis because he believes the previous studies it was based on were not adequate.
The Lancet review included only randomized trials, where people either took a Vitamin D supplement or a placebo. Researchers then tracked the health of the participants. Using only randomized trials means that the overall review did not take note of any prior studies where researchers inquired about Vitamin D intake and measured blood levels. This latter type of study has shown a connection between low levels of Vitamin D and cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Boston University’s Holick believes that higher doses of Vitamin D are needed to realize potential health benefits. In at least one U.S. trial going on now, a Vitamin D dose of 2,000 IU per day is being tested.
This rift in the medical community doesn’t leave consumers with any definitive recommendations. If you’re interested in potential Vitamin D benefits, the best advice is probably to consult your own doctor or health practitioner about his or her opinion.