Do Vitamin D supplements really do nothing for our bones?

October 13, 2018

Warren Willey

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology online published a study on Oct. 4 basically stating that taking Vitamin D supplements does nothing for your bones. This is quite contrary to everything everyone has read, been told, or preached about by the powerful marketing machine.

I will not, in this article, discuss vitamin D. My close colleagues know my very strong opinion on this topic and I will leave it at that. What I would like to discuss in this short article is that this is just one more very powerful example of the need to read everything with bias, thought, and scrutiny.

The authors took 81 randomized controlled trials, involving over 53,000 people, and stated that vitamin D supplementation did nothing for bones. It did not change bone density or fracture rates.

It’s a powerful study, if there was one, but before we hang our hats on the results, a few things need to be considered including how this study will be used.

First, who was in the study? Mostly elderly, with no mention of how long they had taken vitamin D (in most cases). There were no “young” people in the study. Based on the results, a 30-year-old could easily conclude that vitamin D supplementation is of no benefit. That would be false, according to this study, as her age group was not involved.

Second, people in these studies already had brittle bones. What about people with good bone structure? When you have good bones, could vitamin D be beneficial in keeping those good bones? Could there be a point of no return for men and women as they age where vitamin D would no longer work? Unknown. Not studied.

Third, in relation to how this study will be used, there is an important fallacy of logic called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias states we tend to seek, find, and preach things we already believe in.

This study gives everyone who dislikes supplements in general and vitamin D in particular, a reason to profess their already held belief.

Do not take everything at face value. Think, ponder, ask a trusted expert in your circle for their opinion, and develop your own thoughts before believing everything you read.

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.

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