A major study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found vitamin D supplements are not effective in preventing fractures or falls and do not significantly impact bone mineral density.
Researchers reviewed 81 trials that included 53,537 participants. Pooled analyses showed no impact on total fracture (36 trials; n = 44,790, relative risk 1.00, 95% CI 0.93–1.07), hip fracture (20 trials; n = 36,655, 1.11, 0.97–1.26), or falls (37 trials; n = 34,144, 0.97, 0.93–1.02). Randomized controlled trials measuring high-dose versus low-dose vitamin D and doses > 800 IU/day had similar outcomes. Over a five-year period, vitamin D intake had no significant impact on bone mineral density at any site (range −0·16% to 0·76% over 1–5 years).
“For total fracture and falls, the effect estimate lay within the futility boundary for relative risks of 15%, 10%, 7·5%, and 5% (total fracture only), suggesting that vitamin D supplementation does not reduce fractures or falls by these amounts,” the researchers wrote. They also found no reduced risk specifically for hip fractures, and no effect on hip, forearm, lumbar spine, femoral neck, and total body bone mineral density.
“Our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation does not prevent fractures or falls, or have clinically meaningful effects on bone mineral density,” the researchers wrote. “There were no differences between the effects of higher and lower doses of vitamin D. There is little justification to use vitamin D supplements to maintain or improve musculoskeletal health.”