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Study questions vitamin D benefits
Vitamin D is considered a miracle cure for the prevention of cancer, diabetes, vascular diseases, depression and other diseases. In addition, taking vitamin D pills is said to reduce the risk of broken bones because the hormone plays an important role in regulating the calcium balance. However, the positive effect of vitamin D has been questioned in various studies. French scientists recently came to the conclusion that a lack of vitamin D is not the cause but the result of certain diseases.
A lack of vitamin D could not be the cause but the result of a disease Many doctors are in favor of taking vitamin D supplements. The hormone, of which only precursors can be produced by the body itself, is considered an all-purpose weapon against many diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is also said to lead to an increased risk of various diseases.
Doctors at the international preventive research institute (ipri) in Lyon have recently gained new knowledge. A cross-sectional study with 300 relevant studies showed that a low vitamin D level in the blood is not the reason for certain diseases, but rather the result. "People who take vitamin D supplements are not better protected against vascular diseases, diabetes or cancer," quotes the Basler Zeitung, the lead author of the study, Philippe Autier. Most of the research that the team at Autier analyzed confirmed the link between low vitamin D levels and increased risk of disease, but others could not prove that preventive vitamin D intake protects against certain diseases. The latter were so-called intervention studies that evaluate the effects of active measures. "As a result, the observed low vitamin levels are most likely a result of the associated diseases," says Autier, summarizing the results, which were published in the specialist magazine "The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology". A vitamin D deficiency could indicate chronic inflammation, since certain immune cells would contribute to the breakdown of the substance.
Vitamin D supplements have little benefit New Zealand researchers led by Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland concluded in their study, which was also published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in January, that vitamin D pills were only minor Have benefit. They also suspect that vitamin D deficiency is not the cause but rather the result of certain health problems.
In 40 trials, the researchers examined whether taking vitamin D supplements actually reduces the risk of certain diseases by at least 15 percent. As it turned out, only seniors benefit from the pills. In this age group, vitamin D reduced the risk of broken bones. Overall, the risk of illness could only be reduced by a maximum of 15 percent with the vitamin D supplements. The prescribing of such means, as is currently common practice, must therefore be reconsidered, the researchers write.
So far, there is little suitable study data to assess a preventive effect of vitamin D. Other experts such as dermatologist Jörg Reichrath from Saarland University Hospital and Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from Zurich University Hospital disagree. Reichrath told the Basler Zeitung that it was very well investigated how the vitamin D receptor supports various body defense functions. "Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory and lowers blood pressure," the newspaper quotes vitamin D expert Bischoff-Ferrari. The two experts believe in the effects of the hormone and that around 60 percent of the population suffer from a vitamin D deficiency and are therefore not adequately protected.
Autier has a different theory on vitamin D deficiency. He suspects an advertising message behind it. "There is a strong influence from the manufacturers of vitamin preparations, measuring devices and also the solarium industry." The latter would try to improve their image, as they are mainly associated with skin cancer. Reichrath rejects any commercial influence. Sponsorship by the pharmaceutical industry is rare, especially in vitamin D research. Therefore, there are still no high-quality study data on the preventive effect of the hormone. A corresponding investigation is planned.
While the use of vitamin D supplements continues to be controversial, the experts agree on vitamin D deficiency syndromes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. However, these are the exception in highly civilized countries. Sufferers suffer from bone deformation and pain, because the body is no longer able to absorb sufficient calcium from the intestine due to the vitamin D deficiency. Babies are therefore given prophylactic vitamin D. (ag)