News

Copyright © 2020 Natural Medicines (www.naturalmedicines.com)
January 2020

2019: A Bad Year for Vitamin D

Several trials published in 2019 showed that vitamin D doesn’t benefit heart disease, various types of cancer, or diabetes. This differs from the promising findings from observational research, which suggested that vitamin D might benefit numerous conditions. So, what happened? Why don't the results from controlled trials support what we saw in observational studies?

Observational research doesn’t prove a cause and effect relationship; it can only suggest a link between two factors. Research found links between low vitamin D levels and increased risk for asthma – breast cancer – kidney disease – diabetes – and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the media reported these results as if the levels of vitamin D caused these effects. This cleared the way for research funding to find out if taking vitamin D could reduce the risk or improve symptoms of these conditions. Unfortunately, we now know it doesn’t.

Overall, taking vitamin D supplements doesn't really benefit any extra-skeletal conditions. But remind patients that taking vitamin D along with calcium is still appropriate for skeletal conditions such as osteoporosis. And people with confirmed vitamin D deficiency should still take a vitamin D supplement in addition to increasing dietary intake of vitamin D. If other patients want to increase their vitamin D levels, recommend they eat more fish, eggs, and fortified milk, and spend a brief period of time in the sunlight each day.

Related topics:

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2020 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.