Vitamin D and calcium supplements don’t work, according to a new study

According to a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, vitamin D and calcium supplements could reduce the risk of death from cancer, but increase the risk of death from heart disease. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the results of the vitamin D and calcium study?

The 22-year study followed 36,282 older women to assess the impact of combined vitamin D and calcium intake on the risk of hip fractures and death rates from cancer or heart disease.

According to the study, participants took 1,000 milligrams of calcium carbonate with 400 international units of vitamin D daily or a placebo.

Here are the specific test results, according to Forbes.

  • There is no reduction in the risk of hip fractures.

  • Reduction in death from cancer: 1817 women taking supplements died of cancer. 1943 women in the placebo group died of cancer. The results are statistically significant.

  • Increased death from heart disease: 2621 women taking supplements died of heart disease. 2420 women in the placebo group died of heart disease. The results are statistically significant.

  • Women in the supplement group had more deaths: Seventy-five more deaths were reported in the supplement groups from cancer or heart disease, and additional deaths from various other reasons, compared with the placebo group. Not statistically significant.

Statistical significance determines whether observed differences between groups or variables are likely real or due to chance. The more statistically significant something is, the more confident scientists are that the variables differ, according to Harvard Business Review.

What are the limitations of the studies?

Limitations refer to shortcomings of a study, such as limited resources, small sample sizes, or flawed methodology, that may affect the study’s results or reliability, according to the edition.

All studies have limitations. There are potential limitations here, as found in the study.

  • The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Participants had no history of breast or colorectal cancer. No other history of cancer or disease was recorded.

  • Comparisons of overall deaths, with women in the higher supplement group, were not statistically significant.

  • Outcomes for hip fracture and death were only available for the number of study participants.

  • Participants were only found in the United States. It is not a global study.

  • It is difficult to separate the effects of vitamin D and calcium, as the study had participants take both (unless they took a placebo).

What do other sources say about vitamin D and calcium supplements?

According to the Mayo Clinic, taking vitamin D supplements:

  • It may not prevent cancer.

  • Increases cognitive health.

  • They are used for hereditary bone disorders.

  • Reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.

  • Helps treat muscle weakness and soft bones.

  • Prevent or treat osteoporosis.

  • Can treat psoriasis.

  • Treat rickets, a condition in children.

By Johns Hopkins Medicine, taking calcium supplements:

  • Don’t avoid hip fractures.

  • Increases colon polyps (small growths in the intestines that can become cancerous).

  • It causes kidney stones.

  • It increases the risk of calcium build-up in the arteries of the heart.

  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Vitamin D and calcium supplements may or may not make a difference to your health, according to the study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine. There are some benefits for osteoporosis and bone health.

According to the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, bodies need vitamin D and calcium daily. You should talk to your doctor if you think you are not getting enough and if supplements are needed. Sometimes it is better to meet daily needs through diet.

What to eat to get enough vitamin D and calcium

There are many good dietary sources of calcium, according to John Hopkins Medicine,

  • Almonds.

  • dried figs

  • Garbanzo, pintos and white beans.

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as kale or spinach.

  • Low-fat dairy, such as milk or yogurt.

  • Oranges.

  • soy

According to Harvard School of Public Health’s TH Chan, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D through food if you don’t get regular exposure to sunlight. However, there are some food products that are fortified with vitamin D:

  • Beef liver

  • Cereals enriched with vitamin D.

  • Cod liver oil.

  • Dairy and vegetable milks with vitamin D.

  • Egg yolk.

  • Orange juice enriched with vitamin D.

  • salmon

  • sardines

  • swordfish

  • Tuna.

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