Vitamin D – new study refutes decades-old theory (read, it’s important)

Even so, there are people who continue to benefit from taking vitamin D supplements.

Of the various functions that vitamin D can have for health – such as strengthening the immune system and preventing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity – there is one that has been assumed for years as an absolute truth: the power of this fat-soluble hormone in bone health for its role in calcium absorption. Vitamin D is, in fact, an ally of the bones, but its supplements are not even that, especially when it comes to reducing the risk of fracture.

The conclusion is from one of the largest studies on the topic and which involved about 26 thousand participants. Published in scientific journal The New England Journal of Medicine research shows that taking vitamin D supplements – with or without taking calcium supplements – has no effect on preventing bone fractures.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists turned to 25,871 participants – men aged 50 and over and women aged 55 and over. At random, some were assigned to take 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) a day and the rest just a placebo. Participants were followed for an average of five years and “1,991 incident fractures were recorded in 1,551 participants”, the study reads.

“Supplemental vitamin D 3, compared with placebo, did not have a significant effect on total fractures (which occurred in 769 of 12,927 participants in the vitamin D group and in 782 of 12,944 participants in the placebo group),” the scientists say.

Although they have not found a reliable and credible relationship between supplements and the prevention of bone fractures, scientists, cited by the “New York Times”, point out that there are people who benefit from this extra in their food plan: those who have celiac disease or Crohn’s disease and those who live in areas where sunlight is very scarce, and there should always be proper medical follow-up, especially because excess is at risk.

Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, although it is also present, but to a much lesser extent, in some foods, such as fatty fish, red meat, mushrooms and eggs. There are also foods fortified with this nutrient on sale, such as vegetable drinks and breakfast cereals, for example. Recently, a team of researchers has developed a new and potential vegan source of vitamin D: the tomato gene modified with CRISPR-Cas9 technology to contain a precursor of vitamin D.

This study is part of a series of investigations into the effectiveness of vitamin D and Omega-3 supplementation, called VITAL, and funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.