"The health benefits of vitamin D supplementation tend to be most marked in people who have the lowest vitamin D levels to start with", one medical professor says.
"Vitamin D supplement use is common, particularly in North America", where up to 40 percent of older people take them, said lead researcher Dr. Alison Avenell. 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.
A review of previously published studies found that taking either high or low doses of vitamin D supplements didn't prevent fractures or falls, or improve bone density. Even when lower thresholds were assessed, there was still reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce falls by 7.5% and total fractures by 5%. Most studies included women over the age of 65.
Cheese comes loaded with vitamin D and calcium that are required for strengthening bones and teeth.
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.
Bolland further added that at present the amount of evidence that is available shows that there is little need for "more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes".
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.
Vitamin D supplementation is now recommended for the elderly and all babies and children below the age of 5 years.
They did caveat that vitamin D supplementation was still appropriate for groups at high risk of rare conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia, which can result after prolonged lack of exposure to the sun.
Because of the small number of trials with baseline 25OHD below 25 nmol/L (total of 831 participants), more research might be needed into the effect of vitamin D supplementation at these levels.
Bolland suggests doctors and health officials now recommending the vitamin to older patients as a way to prevent osteoporosis or brittle bones should stop.
Vitamin D is found in a variety of foods. Within 3 years, we might have that answer because there are approximately 100 000 participants now enrolled in randomised, placebo-controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation.