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Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention Is Uncertain

Meta-analysis shows that widespread supplementation does not improve health outcomes

Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention Is Uncertain

TUESDAY, Jan. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementation with vitamin D to prevent disease does not appear to improve health outcomes, according to research published online Jan. 24 in The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Mark J. Bolland, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues performed a trial sequential meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials of vitamin D supplements, with or without calcium, to investigate the effect of vitamin D on prevention of disease.

The researchers found that vitamin D supplementation, with or without calcium, did not reduce, by 15 percent or more, the relative risk of cancer, myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease, stroke or cerebrovascular disease, or total fracture. In institutionalized individuals, vitamin D supplementation with calcium reduced hip fractures. In community-dwelling individuals, vitamin D supplementation, alone or with calcium, did not reduce the relative risk of hip fracture by 15 percent or more. The effect of vitamin D, with or without calcium, on reducing mortality (38 trials, 81,173 patients) is uncertain.

"Until more information is available, it would be prudent to choose a cautious approach to vitamin D supplementation and to put more emphasis on the development of evidence-based cutoff points for vitamin D inadequacy," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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