Many people in the United States take vitamin D supplements to protect themselves from a range of diseases, including diabetes, cancer and even Coronavirus.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone health and is produced naturally by the skin in reaction to sunshine. It can also be present in red meat and fish.
The CDC recommends that we all take a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months when there is less sunlight, but Epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector, co-creator of the Zoe Covid Study tracker app and others say this isn’t necessary.
They also stated that despite the fact that several clinical experiments have been conducted on Vitamin D to treat and prevent illnesses, none of them has demonstrated any benefit.
Many people who take vitamin D supplements, however, disagree with the expert, claiming that taking vitamin D tablets on a daily basis has helped them overcome anything from crippling joint pain to bone problems and even mental illness.
For example, one reader commented that “three weeks after taking the supplement I felt very much better physically and my depression lifted, so I have been taking it ever since.”
The most frequently reported benefit appears to be a decrease in pain associated with osteoporosis, a weak bone condition. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium from meals, which is necessary for bone development and growth.
Another wrote: “I have osteoporosis, and on the advice of my specialist I’ve been taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements for three years. I also take prescription medication for osteoporosis. Since I’ve been taking the vitamins, tests have shown that my bone density has begun to increase again.”
For a 54-year-old Katie Woodiss-Field, a large daily dose of Vitamin D helped her go from being too stiff to get out of bed to enjoying five-mile excursions in just three months.
During the lockdown, she suffered excruciating leg pains. Her doctor assumed it was a side effect of the menopause, but blood testing revealed she had severely low Vitamin D levels.
“I was prescribed the highest dose you can get over the counter, and I saw an improvement within a few days. And then one day, about three months later, the ache just disappeared.”
Bone and joint health supplements have been the subject of inconsistent outcomes in research.
A study of 81 prior trials showed in 2018 that Vitamin D supplements did not prevent fractures or strengthen bones in people with osteoporosis.
A 2011 US research of menopausal women who took Vitamin D revealed that it had no meaningful effect on menopause-related joint pain, while the authors did observe that certain patients with significantly low Vitamin D did find a slight benefit.
Other studies have indicated that for patients who are deficient in Vitamin D, a supplement enhances bone cell turnover and increases bone stiffness and thickness.
A large number of people also believe that Vitamin D boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off diseases – like Covid.
After blood tests revealed she was inadequate, Jean Stables of Buckinghamshire has been taking a daily amount for several years. She said:
“Before vaccination, what was it that saved me from getting Covid? Probably Vitamin D.”
For people like David Bentley “Vitamin D is an important hormone for optimising immune system function.”
Dr. John Campbell, a former nurse and well-known YouTube personality, is one medical scholar who agrees.
In one video, a self-described health activist blamed the government for inaction for failing to distribute Vitamin D to every Briton during the pandemic’s first wave.
According to him: “More recent evidence suggests that Vitamin D levels in the blood need to be double the Government’s target to see benefits for the immune system.”
Dr. Campbell stated that Vitamin D receptors exist in the immune system’s fighter cells, which are proteins that cause a reaction when they come into touch with the nutrient.
He added: “Studies show this reaction helps to stimulate the immune response. But if Vitamin D is low, the cells won’t function well and immunity will be compromised.”
“This is what we saw with severe Covid,” he said, citing research that showed low Vitamin D might lead the immune system to malfunction and target healthy tissue.
“Most people who died from it did so because of an over-reaction of the immune system in response to the virus. And studies have found patients this happened to had low Vitamin D.”
Other large-scale research, on the other hand, has found the opposite.
A study of over 500,000 hospitalized Covid patients in China published in October found no link between Vitamin D deficiency and severe illness or mortality, and that supplementation had no effect on outcomes.
“The benefits span beyond Covid,” Dr. Campbell remarked. “There are correlations between lower Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis (MS), colorectal cancer and breast cancer.”
Prof Spector agreed in an interview with The Mail on Sunday’s Medical Minefield podcast that the one disease where Vitamin D treatment may be beneficial is multiple sclerosis, a brain and spinal cord disorder that can cause severe disability.
Dr. Campbell cautioned, however, that there is little proof that vitamin D pills provide the same benefits as sun exposure.
“There are plenty of anecdotal reports from patients about feeling better after taking Vitamin D, or seeing their symptoms improve,” he added. “But unfortunately we still don’t have enough high-quality data to prove the benefits of supplements.
“I think that’s because there’s no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to do research, because there’s little money to be made in Vitamin D. A positive discovery is hardly going to make drug firms millions when anyone can get it from the supermarket for a few quid.”
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