Millions taking vitamin D needlessly + Brain supplements don't work (study)

Millions of Americans take vitamin D. Most should just stop.

EXCERPT: . . . The new research, published on June 19 in JAMA Cardiology, combined the results of 21 randomized clinical trials to look at whether vitamin D supplementation was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes. 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 Lancet, which looked at 81 randomized trials on whether vitamin D prevents fractures and falls and improves bone mineral density in adults. It found no benefit to musculoskeletal health. “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 Lancet 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. “There really is no health boost for vitamin D supplementation,” Clifford J. Rosen of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, told Vox.

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. But in most people with no symptoms of deficiency, the tablet shows such little utility that doctors are even questioning why we bother to measure vitamin D levels in those who aren’t at risk. Most of us actually get enough vitamin D without even trying. (MORE - details)

Supplements for brain health are a waste of money: Study finds you're better off buying fresh fruit and veg over pills that can cost $60 a month

EXCERPT: Steven DeKosky, a professor of Neurology at the University of Florida, studies brain health and prevention of dementia. Here, he explains a landmark new study showing supplements are a waste of money. A quarter of over-50s take them, but would better benefit from a healthier diet. The FDA prohibits supplement makers from making specific health claims, but companies have found a way to tout wondrous benefits nonetheless. [...the...] study, done by experts convened by the AARP, suggests that seniors should spend their money elsewhere. The supplements don't work. This is no small issue. [...]

Supplements have ... become a profitable area for companies to engage in, as seen by the large percentage of people who take such supplements and the billions of dollars spent on them annually. Surely some of them must work? Yes, the vitamins do, although most people don't need to take vitamin supplements. The overwhelming evidence shows that if you eat a normal diet you do not have need to take supplementary vitamins or minerals.

There are some exceptions. If people have insufficient amounts of foods that provide vitamin B12 or vitamin B6, they may have to take supplements. In the case of B12, some older people have difficulty absorbing this vitamin in the digestive system. In these cases, a physician would test for a low B12 level and treat it. Sometimes, a person would need an injection, as the B12 in a capsule would not be absorbed, either.

Some people may take vitamins and supplements using the rationale that 'more is better.' This is not true for supplements, even vitamins.... (MORE - details)

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