USPSTF Finds Evidence Lacking for Vitamin D Screening
Current evidence inadequate to determine benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency
TUESDAY, Sept. 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that the current evidence is inadequate to recommend screening for vitamin D deficiency in asymptomatic adults. This finding forms the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Sept. 22 by the USPSTF.
Leila C. Kahwati, M.D., M.P.H., from RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Research Triangle Park, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 46 studies that assessed various doses, frequency, and duration of treatment with vitamin D to examine the benefits and harms of treatment. The researchers found that the evidence suggests that vitamin D treatment, with or without calcium, had no effect on most health outcomes; for some outcomes, the evidence was limited. Treatment had no impact on mortality, fractures, incidence of diabetes, incidence of cardiovascular disease, incidence of cancer, or depression among community-dwelling populations. Evidence was inconclusive for the effect of treatment on falls. Active treatment and control groups had a similar incidence of total adverse events, serious adverse events, and other harms.
Based on these findings, the USPSTF concluded that there is a lack of evidence for the benefits of screening for vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, for asymptomatic adults, the balance of benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency cannot be determined (I statement). The draft recommendation statement and evidence review have been posted for public comment; comments can be submitted from Sept. 22 through Oct. 19, 2020.
"We don't know the precise level of vitamin D in the body that leads to poor health outcomes, or which test might be a better indicator of vitamin D deficiency," task force member John Wong, M.D., said in a statement. "Once we know the level of vitamin D that people need to remain healthy, or if there is a better test, more research on whether screening can help prevent negative outcomes, such as falls, cancer, or heart problems will be helpful."