Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Vitamin D may not be the great solution to health problems


Public Release: 16-Jun-2016
Vitamin D may not be the great solution to health problems
UAlberta review finds little evidence for the benefits of vitamin D supplementation
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

As Canadians prepare for long summer days in the sun, a new publication is shedding light on the suggested medical benefits of a nutrient that comes with the sun's rays: vitamin D.

The vital nutrient is widely seen as an important element to good health. Many people place strong belief in its potential benefits in treating a number of medical conditions--such as depression or Multiple Sclerosis--and feel a need to supplement their vitamin D intake. But according to Michael Allan, a professor of Family Medicine and director of Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, much of that belief isn't validated by science.


Allan is the lead author of a review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that examines the evidence for 10 common beliefs about vitamin D. The beliefs range from the ability of vitamin D to reduce falls and fractures, improve depression and mental well-being, prevent rheumatoid arthritis, treat Multiple Sclerosis, and lessen incidences of cancer and mortality. The review finds little evidence though that supplementation with this vitamin has much of an effect at all.


He is quick to point out that much of the existing research around vitamin D was poorly executed and consists of poor quality evidence. While he welcomes ongoing research in the area, he says moving forward it needs to consistently be of a higher caliber to be of clinical relevance.

"It makes it really difficult to determine a lot of time if there is anything substantial there that you could tell a patient, 'You can take this and it can help you this much.' There's really not nearly enough there to say that."


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