The vitamin pills do not prevent bone fractures in most people or protect against many other diseases, adding to questions about medical guidance many now take for granted.

Study Finds Another Condition That Vitamin D Pills Do Not Help

The idea made so much sense it was almost unquestioningly accepted: Vitamin D pills can protect bones from fractures. After all, the body needs the vitamin for the gut to absorb calcium, which bones need to grow and stay healthy. But now, in the first large randomized controlled study in the United States, funded by the federal government, researchers report that vitamin D pills taken with or without calcium have no effect on bone fracture rates. The results, published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, hold for people with osteoporosis and even those whose blood tests deemed them vitamin D deficient. These results followed other conclusions from the same study that found no support for a long list of purported benefits of vitamin D supplements.

“Providers should stop screening for 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels or recommending vitamin D supplements and people should stop taking vitamin D supplements in order to prevent major diseases or extend life,” wrote Dr. Steven R. Cummings, a research scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, and Dr. Clifford Rosen, a senior scientist at the the MaineHealth Institute for Research. Dr. Rosen is an editor at The New England Journal of Medicine. There are exceptions, they say: People with conditions like celiac or Crohn’s disease need vitamin D supplements, as do those who live in conditions where they are deprived of sunshine and may not get any of the mineral from foods that are routinely supplemented with vitamin D, such as cereals and dairy products. The two scientists know that in making such strong statements they are taking on vitamin sellers, testing labs and advocates who have claimed that taking vitamin D, often in huge amounts, can cure or prevent a wide variety of ailments and even help people live longer.

The research was part of a comprehensive vitamin D study called VITAL. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health and began after an expert group convened by what is now the National Academy of Medicine, a nonprofit organization, examined the health effects of vitamin D supplements and found little evidence. The expert group’s members were supposed to come up with a minimum daily requirement for the vitamin but found that most clinical trials that had studied the subject were inadequate, making them ask if there was any truth to the claims that vitamin D improved health. The prevailing opinion at the time was that vitamin D was likely to prevent bone fractures. Researchers thought that as vitamin D levels fell, parathyroid hormone levels would increase at a detriment to bones.

Dr. Rosen said those concerns led him and the other members of the National Academy of Medicine’s expert group to set what he called an “arbitrary value” of 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood as the goal for vitamin D levels and to advise people to get 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D supplements to achieve that goal. Labs in the United States then arbitrarily set 30 nanograms per milliliter as the cutoff point for normal vitamin D levels, a reading so high that almost everyone in the population would be considered vitamin D deficient. The presumed relationship between vitamin D and parathyroid levels has not held up in subsequent research, Dr. Rosen said. But uncertainty continued, so the National Institutes of Health funded the VITAL trial to get some solid answers about vitamin D’s relationship to health. The first part of VITAL, previously published, found that vitamin D did not prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease in trial participants. Nor did it prevent falls, improve cognitive functioning, reduce atrial fibrillation, change body composition, reduce migraine frequency, improve stroke outcomes, protect against macular degeneration or reduce knee pain.

Source: This news is originally published by nytimes

By Web Team

Technology Times Web team handles all matters relevant to website posting and management.