Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said this new study should convince doctors that vitamin D supplements don't have a role in maintaining healthy bones, but they do have other benefits. "Our results show that there is little reason for adults to take vitamin D supplements for their bones to protect against fractures, except people from high risk groups, such as those who have a prolonged lack of exposure to sunshine".
There was reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce total fractures, hip fractures, or falls by 15 percent, a clinically meaningful threshold.
"On the strength of existing evidence, we believe there is little justification for more trials of vitamin D supplements looking at musculoskeletal outcomes", Bolland added. The conclusion follows one of the largest reviews ever of vitamin D.
However, Vitamin D supplements can prevent some disorders including rickets which is a childhood bone disease.
The authors say that clinical guidelines that continue to recommend vitamin D supplementation for bone health should be changed to reflect the best available evidence.
The authors of the study are urging physicians, prescribers and the government to stop advising people to take regular vitamin D supplements. An analysis of older studies notes that taking either high or low doses of vitamin D supplements didn't improve bone density.
Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight and a balanced diet. Most studies included women over the age of 65.
The pros and cons of vitamin D supplements have always been debated, with some worrying about the consequences if people with deficiencies stopped taking them.
The review entitled, Effects of Vitamin D supplementation on musculoskeletal health: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis, was published yesterday in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.
Professor Louis Levy, PHE's head of nutrition science, said: "This study highlights the importance of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D to reduce the risk of poor musculoskeletal health".
The findings were published online October 4 in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. She is clinical chair in health services research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Whilst it is universally agreed that vitamin D is essential for good health, the scientists question whether supplementation is necessary.