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FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There's little evidence that vitamin D supplements offer substantial health benefits, and several ongoing studies are unlikely to change that, according to a large new review.
Vitamin D supplements are taken by nearly half of American adults, according to the researchers.
The review authors analyzed the findings of 40 studies and determined that taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer or bone fractures in the general population by more than 15 percent.
That result suggests that vitamin D supplements likely provide few, if any, health benefits, said Dr. Mark Bolland, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues.
The study appears in the Jan. 25 issue of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Unless used in people with vitamin D deficiency, there is legitimate concern that taking vitamin D supplements might actually cause harm, professor Karl Michaelsson, of Uppsala University in Sweden, wrote in an accompanying journal editorial.
Previous research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor health and early death. But recent evidence suggests that low levels of vitamin D are a result, not a cause, of poor health, according to a journal news release.
The Harvard School of Public Health has more about vitamin D and health.