Even Vitamin D May Not Be Good for You

Even Vitamin D May Not Be Good for You.

The evidence just keeps pouring in that vitamin supplements simply do not improve your health unless you have a diagnosed deficiency. In fact, supplements may harm you. A once-a-day multivitamin is not a good idea if you eat a reasonably good diet, and even if you eat a terrible diet and never eat vegetables or fruits, you should be diagnosed with a deficiency before attempting to self-medicate with vitamins.

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Vitamin D was the last vitamin holdout the FDA and physicians thought might be useful as a supplement. All other vitamins have been widely condemned as useless or even harmful. Now a new report suggests even Vitamin D, especially for older people, may be more harmful than helpful.

The one vitamin the FDA has not spoken out against so far is Vitamin D, which most of us seem not to get enough of. Many people are diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiencies. But now a new study casts doubt on whether vitamin D supplements are a good idea, at least in large doses.

In the study, 200 people aged 70 and higher were given high doses (60,000 IU twice a month) of vitamin D to see if it might help them with their leg and foot functions in hopes they would fall less. Instead, it resulted in the opposite.

The subjects in the study, reported in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine journal, had each fallen at least once in the past year. The falls were all low-trauma. The randomized trial compared two groups — those given the standard recommended 800 IU of vitamin D daily (24,000 IU per month) and those given two high doses of vitamin a month (120,000 IU total).

Those who got the high dose twice a month were much more likely to fall again. Researchers were surprised, but confirmed that normal suggested doses of Vitamin D showed the best improvement in lower-extremity function, the lowest odds of falling and the fewest number of falls compared with the high-dose group.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Steven R Cummings, of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, and two colleagues noted:

The vitamin D story seems to be following the familiar pattern observed with antioxidant vitamins. Enthusiasm for the health benefits of vitamin supplements is coupled with the belief that vitamins are inherently safe… Then [research] proved that the supplements in fact increase mortality (beta-carotene, vitamin E), or have no health benefits (vitamin A, vitamin C).

Cummings went on to say that if a patient is actually diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, it is “prudent” to get those vitamins from foods that contain them rather than “manufactured” supplements.

In an extraordinary review of vitamin studies in the Dec. 13, 2013 issue of the journal Annals of Medicine, five physicians wrote:

“In conclusion, beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Although available evidence does not rule out small benefits or harms or large benefits or harms in a small subgroup of the population, we believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.”

To your health and wealth,

Stephen Petranek
for, The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning