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Researchers question vitamin D benefits from dietary supplements
Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the level of calcium in the blood and building bones. A vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone softening (osteomalacia), osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, the metabolic syndrome and cancer. That is why health experts recommend taking vitamin D as a dietary supplement, especially in winter. However, New Zealand researchers question the benefits of vitamin D pills. Their investigation could hardly confirm the commonly accepted positive effects of vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D requirements can usually be met with natural sources. Normally, most of our vitamin D needs are covered by the sun's skin. Precursors of the vitamin are formed by the body itself, but it is only sunlight that leads to the synthesis of vitamin D. In addition, vitamin D is contained in various foods such as oily fish, egg yolk and cheese. Since there is little sun in our latitudes in winter, health experts recommend supplementing the vitamin. Numerous preparations are available for this. Vitamin D is said to reduce the risk of heart failure, broken bones and cancer.
It is precisely these effects that New Zealand researchers led by Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland investigated. Her conclusion: Vitamin D pills have little benefit. Accordingly, vitamin D deficiency is not the cause but rather the result of health complaints, as the scientists report in the specialist journal "The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology".
The researchers analyzed 40 scientific trials to check whether taking vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of certain diseases by at least 15 percent. As it turned out, only the elderly benefit from the preparations, and only in terms of the risk of broken bones. "Our results suggest that vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium can reduce skeletal or non-skeletal effects by a maximum of 15 percent," the researchers write. The prescription of vitamin D supplements, as is currently common practice, should therefore be reconsidered. In the United States, about one in two adults take vitamin D supplements, the researchers said. A boom for which there are no sufficient arguments.
If you want to boost your body's vitamin D production even in winter, you should spend some time outdoors every day so that your face and hands are exposed to natural light. Experts do not recommend going to the solarium, however, because UV radiation is very intense and increases the risk of skin cancer. (ag)