Chances are you or someone you know is taking a vitamin D supplement. It’s become one of those things people talk about, especially in colder climates during the winter months where lack of sun hinders the synthesis needed to raise vitamin D levels in the body. Routine blood tests look for it and even doctors loathe to prescribe will recommend patients grab some vitamin D off the Walgreen’s shelf. Why not? That’s the thinking. But why is a question being asked more frequently.
Beliefs that vitamin D deficiencies can increase risk of depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, cancer and heart disease aren’t backed by a preponderance of evidence. Gina Kolata in the New York Times writes of vitamin D’s efficacy in counteracting those maladies: “there has never been widely accepted evidence that vitamin D is helpful in preventing or treating any of those conditions.” She cites studies showing no vitamin D effect on cancer incidence or heart disease. (Vitamin D deficiency is a factor in osteoporosis.) In fact, too much vitamin D can be a problem. A large study is currently being conducted by Dr. Julie Buring and Dr. JoAnn Manson at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts. For information write [email protected] Stay tuned.