Between 20, the amount Medicare spent on vitamin D testing rose 83-fold, making the test Medicare’s fifth most popular, after cholesterol.
These tests uncovered lots of low vitamin D levels — but there’s a scientific debate about how many of them are true deficiencies.
“About 80 to 90 percent of vitamin D comes from sunlight, and even 15 minutes in the midday will boost vitamin D levels to a good level.” Still, testing and supplementation have exploded in the US.
Over the past decade, the numbers of people using vitamin D supplements increased by a factor of four.
“Maybe people will stop taking vitamin D supplements, but somehow I doubt it.
Vitamin D may also play a role in muscle function and the immune system.The findings — based on studies involving 83,000 patients — were pretty bleak: Vitamin D supplementation was not associated with any cardiovascular benefit.The new research follows a major meta-study, published in the which looked at 81 randomized trials on whether vitamin D prevents fractures and falls and improves bone mineral density in adults. “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, the clinical chair of health services research at the University of Aberdeen and an author of the study, “and we’re saying the supplements for fractures and falls aren’t going to do that.” These papers also build on previous meta-studies and the large-scale randomized trials that have shown the fat-soluble hormone doesn’t prevent fractures and may not have a role in preventing cancer or type-2 diabetes, but can increase the risk of kidney stones when taken along with calcium.The hype about the vitamin during the past two decades started with early vitamin D science.Before researchers run randomized controlled trials, they often look for links between health outcomes and exposures in large-scale population research called observational studies. 1 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.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. 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.But the studies could only tell about correlations between vitamin D exposure and disease outcomes, not whether one caused the other. And reviews that take these trials together to come to more fully supported conclusions, like the paper, are similarly lackluster.Of course, there are some cases when supplementation can be helpful: During pregnancy, for example, or for people who have been diagnosed with health conditions that may lead to vitamin deficiencies, like liver disease or multiple sclerosis.People with asthma, those who don’t get into the sun at all (like the homebound or institutionalized), or those from ethnic backgrounds with darker skin — African, Afro-Caribbean, and South Asian — may also benefit from a supplement.However, the results of many of these studies are either preliminary or under debate.Without other long-term research, even many of the researchers who conducted these initial studies are cautious about recommending vitamin D for the prevention of these diseases.