PARIS, January 24, 2014 (AFP) – Vitamin D supplements have no significant effect on preventing heart attack, stroke, cancer or bone fractures, according to a review of scientific evidence published Friday.
Researchers led by Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland in New Zealand looked at 40 high-quality trials to see if supplements met a benchmark of reducing risk of these problems by 15 percent or more.
But the new study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, strengthens arguments that vitamin D deficiency is usually the result of ill health — not the cause of it.
Its authors say there is “little justification” for doctors to prescribe vitamin D supplements as a preventive measure for these disorders.
“Available evidence does not lend support to vitamin D supplementation and it is very unlikely that the results of a future single randomised clinical trial will materially alter the results from current meta-analyses,” they write.[pq]Vitamin D is a key component for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.[/pq]
It is produced naturally when the skin is exposed to sunlight or derived from foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and cheese.
In March last year, British scientists, in a comparison of 4,000 women, found that vitamin D supplements taken in pregnancy made no difference to the child’s bone health.
And in September 2012, researchers at New York’s Rockefeller University saw no evidence that vitamin D supplements lowered cholesterol, a factor in heart disease, at least over the short term.
In contrast, a November 2012 investigation into pregnant women who lived in high-latitude, northern hemisphere countries with long, dark winters found a link between low levels of natural vitamin D and an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in their offspring.
For these women, taking vitamin D supplements to offset the effects of long periods without sunlight could be advisable, according to that research.
– AFP NEWS