Vitamin D supplements don't improve bone health

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Experts believe a fifth of people in Britain have vitamin D levels that are too low.

"Since the last major review of evidence in 2014, more than 30 randomised controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health have been published, almost doubling the evidence base available", lead author Dr Mark J. Bolland said in a statement.

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.

The Department of Health now recommends that all children under five should take a daily supplement, along with pregnant and breastfeeding women, and older people who are not often outdoors - for instance if they are frail, housebound or live in a care home.

But the research also concludes the supplement is helpful in preventing rare conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia in high risk groups, which can occur after a prolonged lack of exposure to sunshine, resulting in deficiency. Clinical guidelines should be changed to reflect these findings, as per the researchers.

Most included women aged over the age of 65 (77% of trials) who lived in the community and who received daily doses of more than 800 International Units per day (68% of trials).

Apart from being loaded with vitamin C, oranges are loaded with calcium and are known to up your bone health.

Although most of the trials lasted a year or less.

Previous research suggests that vitamin D, when taken in tandem with calcium, may help prevent certain cancers and protect against age-related declines in thinking and memory.

Others point to some of the trials in the meta-analysis having a small number of participants and short treatment spans. Since then, more than 30 new trials have analysed the effect of vitamin D on bone health, doubling the available evidence.

The new study found no meaningful effect of vitamin D supplementation when it came to reducing any fracture, hip fractures or falls.

"We know from meta-analyses that have managed to obtain individual participant data that the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation tend to be most marked in people who have the lowest vitamin D levels to start with", said Adrian Martineau, clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London.

For the new report, Avenell and her colleagues reviewed 81 studies, most of which dealt with vitamin D alone, not in combination with the mineral calcium.

"During autumn and winter, those not consuming foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D should consider a 10mg supplement".

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