Healthcare providers have long recommended people take vitamin D supplements for a variety of reasons, such as improving bone density in older people and ensuring sufficient vitamin D intake during fall and winter months.
"Since the last major review of the evidence in 2014, more than 30 randomised controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health have been published, almost doubling the evidence base available".
"The report included all available trials of vitamin D, but such trials included too few participants, used an insufficient dose of vitamin D, and had an insufficient duration of treatment", said Dr Robert Clarke, professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Oxford.
While some experts already questioned the Vitamin D supplements' benefits for musculoskeletal health, now we have the final proof that indeed Vitamin D supplements are useless in improving bone health.
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.
But, as the researchers of the new study reported, it's much better to take Vitamin D from natural sources than relying on supplementation.
There's also existing evidence that vitamin D helps prevent cancer or heart disease, she added.
Over the last four years, over 30 new randomized controlled trials have been carried out and have been published.
There was reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce total fractures, hip fractures, or falls by 15 percent, a clinically meaningful threshold.
The vitamin has always been associated with a decreased risk of a number of conditions, such as osteoporosis and hypertension, in addition to keeping bones strong by helping the body absorb calcium - which is why many use it during the dark winter months. This thinking is reminiscent of the fervour that supported the widespread use of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E years ago, and all of those vitamin trials later proved to be clinically negative.
Between April and the end of September, we can get all the vitamin D that our organisms needs by just going out in the sunlight and having a balanced diet that includes eggs, oily fish, and red meat. The authors should be complimented on an important updated analysis on musculoskeletal health, but already I can hear the fervent supporters-what about the extra-skeletal benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is found in a variety of foods.
The study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.