Vitamin D considered harmful

“Millions of Americans take vitamin D. Most should just stop.” (Vox):

“Something like 40 percent of older adults in the US take vitamin D supplements because they think it’s going to prevent against fractures and falls or cancer,” said Alison Avenell, clinical chair of health services research at the University of Aberdeen and an author on the Lancet study, “and we’re saying the supplements for fractures and falls aren’t going to do that.”

The hype about the vitamin during the last two decades started with early vitamin D science. Before researchers run randomized control trials, they often look for links between health outcomes and exposures in large-scale, population research called observational studies. And early observational research on the benefits of vitamin D uncovered associations between higher levels of vitamin D intake and a range of health benefits.

But the studies could only tell about correlations between vitamin D exposure and disease outcomes, not whether one caused the other. Still, they were enough to fuel media hype. Dr. Oz called the supplement “the number one thing you need more of.” And the vitamin D industry helped create a craze by paying prominent doctors to expound on the benefits of testing and supplementation for everyone.

But more recent randomized trials — that introduce vitamin D to one group and compare that group with a control group — have shown little or unclear benefit for both vitamin D testing and supplementation in the general population

…  testing and supplementation have exploded in the US. Between 2000 and 2010, the amount Medicare spent on vitamin D testing rose 83-fold, making the test Medicare’s fifth most popular after cholesterol. All that screening also led to an explosion in vitamin D supplement use, and millions of Americans now pop daily vitamin D pills.

Another correlation/causation confusion example, with billions of dollars flushed down the toilet!


5 thoughts on “Vitamin D considered harmful

  1. Well, living is Seattle I can feel clear difference in the level of sleepiness between the days when I take vitamin D and when don’t.

  2. There is a harmful level of Vit D but supplementers don’t reach it. So they’re wasting time, maybe. Active people get more sun exposure and tend to be healthier, but invalids taking D don’t suddenly become healthy. Something like that.

  3. Bone-break rate is rather an extreme endpoint to measure. Perhaps there are some directly measurable health benefits to look at besides that.

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