Updated March 31, 2015
Worries over vitamin D, once known as “the sunshine vitamin,” have turned hundreds of millions of people into patients with worse, not better, health. The latest, and likely the final, analyses of the studies performed on treating people with vitamin D supplements has shown that this multiple billion-dollar business does not work. The authors, after thoroughly examining the results of nearly a quarter-million people from 46 major randomized trials, conclude: “Our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation with or without calcium does not reduce skeletal or non-skeletal outcomes in unselected community-dwelling individuals by more than 15%. Future trials with similar designs are unlikely to alter these conclusions.”
Vitamin D supplements are so powerless that the benefits of supplements can only be seen at the extremes of need, such as with institutionalized elderly women (and even then the benefits are with a combination of vitamin D and calcium, not vitamin D alone). In other words, if grandma can be wheeled onto the outdoor patio several times a week, she will reduce her risk of fractures far beyond any benefits hoped for by adding pills or injections of vitamin D.