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"Our meta-analysis finds that vitamin D does not prevent fractures, falls or improve bone mineral density, whether at high or low dose", Bolland said, according to The Guardian.

Two years ago Public Health England (PHE) recommended that people take supplements in winter to top up vitamin D, ...

"Since the last major review of the evidence in 2014, more than 30 randomized controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health have been published, almost doubling the evidence base available", said Dr. Mark Bolland, of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and the study's leading author.

Lead author Dr. Mark Bolland, of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, said: "Since the last major review of the evidence in 2014, more than 30 randomized controlled trials on vitamin D and bone health have been published, almost doubling the evidence base available".

"What is important to keep in mind is that those with low vitamin D were not represented in this meta-analysis, and vitamin D supplementation - repletion, actually - is still necessary for those with low vitamin D levels, regardless of age", said Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She is clinical chair in health services research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Critics of the Lancet study noted that only 6% of the trials were done in populations with vitamin D deficiency, who would stand to benefit most from supplementation.

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There's also existing evidence that vitamin D helps prevent cancer or heart disease, she added.

In a related comment article, J. Chris Gallagher of the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska said "the context for this analysis lies in the fact that many patients (and doctors) have been persuaded by various studies and social media that vitamin D is a cure-all". One of the biggest sources of the vitamin is exposure to sunlight. There was reliable evidence that vitamin D does not reduce total fractures, hip fractures, or falls by 15%-a clinically meaningful threshold.

Bolland explained that this has doubled the volume of information available on vitamin D and bone health. The same is recommended for pregnant women and older adults.

Others point to some of the trials in the meta-analysis having a small number of participants and short treatment spans.

For the new report, Avenell and her colleagues reviewed 81 studies, most of which dealt with vitamin D alone, not in combination with the mineral calcium. These can occur due to vitamin D deficiency.

The study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.


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