Targeted News Service
In response to two systematic reviews/meta-analyses1,2 and a guest editorial3 published online today in the
Statement by Duffy MacKay, N.D., senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN:
"The body of scientific research demonstrating beneficial results for vitamin D has grown in recent years. We know that vitamin D is a critical conduit for multiple physiological bodily functions, as well as a tool for helping calcium absorption, which is essential to building strong bones. Now, a new systematic review and meta-analysis finds vitamin D supplementation may also play a significant role in reducing the risk of mortality, particularly in older adults. We agree with the study authors that further research should be done to identify an optimal dose and duration for this encouraging finding; but there is enough positive research currently to indicate that people should be supplementing with vitamin D for a variety of positive health outcomes.
Although the second umbrella review in this week's issue, by Theodoratou et al., recognized 'probable' and 'suggestive'--but not 'highly convincing of a clear role'--associations for vitamin D and various conditions and diseases, it also indicated that further research is needed to draw firmer conclusions. There are very few things that provide clear cut scientific evidence when you're talking about chronic disease, and if adding a simple vitamin D supplement might provide even probable benefits in this area--as one of a host of healthy habits--we should encourage that step.
As we've seen in other studies, there is something about certain diseases that seems to either be depleting the body of normal levels of vitamin D, or the low levels are contributing to the disease. In either case, where patients present with insufficient levels of this critical nutrient, supplementing with vitamin D makes sense--whether it actually slows the progression of the disease or rather helps to replace the depleted nutrient levels being caused by the disease.
The importance of vitamin D continues to be recognized by the scientific, medical and even regulatory communities. In its latest review of vitamin D, the
It is important for patients and their healthcare practitioners to work together to ensure they are getting the recommended amount of vitamin D--which is not easily obtainable through food alone, and may not be safely available through the sun, making vitamin D supplements a safe and beneficial alternative."
1 Chowdhury R, Kunutsor S, Vitezova A, et al. Vitamin D and risk of cause specific death: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort and randomised intervention studies. BMJ. 2014;348:g1903 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g1903.
2 Theodoratou E, Tzoulaki I, Zgaga L, Ioannidis J. Vitamin D and multiple health outcomes: umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials. BMJ. 2014;348:g2035 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2035.
3 Welsh P,
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