Vitamin D Supplements Don't Help Bone Health, According To Huge Study

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

But the study's authors say there is "little justification" in doing so when it comes to bone health.

They said in the paper: 'In summary, vitamin D supplementation did not have meaningful effects on fracture, falls, or bone mineral density, and future trials are unlikely to alter these conclusions.

"On the strength of existing evidence, we believe there is little justification for more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes". Vitamin D supplements have always been recommended for older people to treat or prevent osteoporosis, a bone-loss condition, with some early evidence suggesting benefits for bone health.

The American Bone Health organization recommended that people supplement with calcium and vitamin D according to their age.

They recommended that public health bodies stop promoting vitamin D supplements as having a meaningful impact on a person's health.

The findings add to previous research suggesting that vitamin D supplements do not prevent disease for the majority.

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They said their study was the largest meta-analysis ever carried out, with data from 81 randomised controlled trials. Since then, more than 30 new trials have analysed the effect of vitamin D on bone health, doubling the available evidence. Most included women aged over the age of 65 (77 per cent of trials) who lived in the community and who received daily doses of more than 800 IU per day (68 per cent of trials).

While data analysing bone density did find small differences for lumbar spine, femoral neck and total body, researchers noted these changes weren't clinically relevant.

Critics of the Lancet study noted that only 6% of the trials were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency, who would stand to benefit most from supplementation.

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".

"During autumn and winter, those not consuming foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D should consider a 10mg supplement".

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