If you follow medical news, you've probably heard a lot about the purported benefits of vitamin D. But a number of studies have also questioned whether a taking vitamin D supplement is a good idea. How do you decide what to do?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has a new report out that could help. The analysis of nearly 50 vitamin D studies found that vitamin D lowers the risk of fractures in older adults but only if taken with calcium supplements. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also found inconclusive evidence that vitamin D can help prevent cancer.
The best dose of vitamin D is also unclear. This study concludes that a daily dose of between 300 and 1,100 international units (IUs) along with 500 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium reduces fracture risk in people over 65.
But last year, a report by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people up to age 70 need no more than 600 IUs of vitamin D a day and people over 70 may need up to 800 IUs.
This study doesn't settle things but it does point out the need for continued research into the benefits and correct dosage of vitamin D.