Those who pop vitamin D pills regularly, may be better off simply spending cash on fruit and vegetables as a recent study has suggested that the supplements give no protection against diseases.
The vital nutrient that comes with the sun’s rays is widely seen as an important element to good health. Many people place strong belief in its potential benefits in treating a number of medical conditions, such as depression or Multiple Sclerosis, and feel a need to supplement their vitamin D intake. But according to lead author Michael Allan, much of that belief isn’t validated by science.
“Wouldn’t it be great if there was a single thing that you or I could do to be healthy that was as simple as taking a vitamin, which seems benign, every day? There is an appeal to it. There is a simplicity to it. But for the average person, they don’t need it.” says Allan.
The study examined the evidence for 10 common beliefs about vitamin D. The beliefs range from the ability of vitamin D to reduce falls and fractures, improve depression and mental well-being, prevent rheumatoid arthritis, treat Multiple Sclerosis, and lessen incidences of cancer and mortality. The review finds little evidence though that supplementation with this vitamin has much of an effect at all.
According to Allan, only a few of the 10 beliefs the team looked into seemed to exhibit some scientific proof. Strongest among them, vitamin D was shown to have a minor impact in reducing the number of falls among the elderly and reducing fractures.
Allan says other possible benefits of vitamin D covered in the review were not borne out or are still unproven. He is quick to point out that much of the existing research around vitamin D was poorly executed and consists of poor quality evidence. While he welcomes ongoing research in the area, he says moving forward it needs to consistently be of a higher caliber to be of clinical relevance.
The study is published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.