Do You Need Vitamin D Supplements?

There has been a spike in the number of people taking high-dose Vitamin D supplements and when we say high dose, this means intake of more than 1,000 IU. Deficiency in vitamin D can be a factor for increasing your risk to various health issues like depression, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and bone fractures to name a few. And due to these worrisome risks, there has been a reported increase in vitamin D screening and use of the supplement for older adults beyond the age of 60.

A Doctor’s Take on Vitamin D

According to an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine, Dr. Audrey Chun, “Having low or deficient levels is not part of normal aging, however, it is very common.” She says that the reason behind it is that as people grow older, the less time they spend under the sun which helps to stimulate specialized cells underneath the skin to create vitamin D. Add to this, as we grow older, these specialized cells also become less efficient in the production of vitamin D.

What Scientific Evidence Suggests

Ok, so we have an increasing number of people who have low vitamin D levels which leads to supplementing their diet with said nutrient. This boils down to the ever-important question, is it working? How do we know it’s working? How can we say it’s working?

So, let’s go back to the reasons why people who are deficient in said vitamin want to supplement it in their diet. Essentially, they want their risk factor for diabetes, depression, bone fractures, and other health issues related to low vitamin D to go down, right? Right!

In a review of a variety of clinical trials that studied more than 80,000 individuals with an average age of 66, they found that intake of vitamin D consecutively for a year did not lead to a significant decrease in their risk for low vitamin D related health issues—no significant decrease in risk for stroke or heart attack. And these studies were published in JAMA cardiology.

In another study on 25,000 people, 50 years and older, who had continuously supplemented with Vitamin D for over 5 years did not show any correlation with a decreased incidence of cardiovascular problems or cancer. More importantly, even those people who had low vitamin D levels to start off did not reap any benefit from supplementation.

The majority of people take vitamin D supplements to promote bone health. Sadly, in an analysis of 81 studies published in 2018 showed no evidence that intake of vitamin D supplements led to fracture and fall prevention.

Get Your Vitamin D Naturally

The population can meet normal vitamin D levels without having to supplement. Natural vitamin D can come from a 15-minute sunshine exposure or it can also come from yummy sources like canned tuna, sardines, egg, salmon, and fortified foods like orange juice, cereal, and milk.

Lastly, too much vitamin D is not good or recommended because it may make you more prone to kidney stones.

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