You’ve probably seen the recent headlines trashing vitamin D supplements.
Many called them “useless” for seniors over 70.
And if that’s ALL you saw, you might have walked away believing you’d wasted your money. Maybe you’ve even thought about tossing yours in the trash.
Don’t. Because it’s those HEADLINES which are useless.
In fact, they’re outright HOGWASH.
The new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has gotten a flurry of coverage. And that’s not surprising.
After all, the only thing many of today’s mainstream “journalists” love MORE than a whiff of controversy is the chance to bash natural medicine.
But the headlines are incredibly misleading. The study didn’t prove that at all. In fact, the researchers never even intended it to.
And many of those stories have holes in them so big you could drive a double-decker bus straight through them.
Fixing the focus on bone mineral density
If you had the opportunity to read the actual study, you’d quickly discover the researchers weren’t even trying to figure out whether or not vitamin D supplements could be valuable for some folks over 70.
They were checking to see if D supplements would affect bone mineral density (BMD) in a group of 70-year-olds. That’s it.
And after a year, they didn’t find any statistically relevant improvements in BMD.
But as a Healthier Talk reader, you ALREADY know bone health is just one of the many benefits of keeping your vitamin D levels topped up.
Research on D and BMD is mixed
I’ll touch on a few of those in just a moment. But before I do that let’s look at two things the researchers themselves wanted folks to know.
First, just as I’ve been telling you all along the study made it clear that low vitamin D IS common in seniors. And that’s a problem.
In fact, by some estimates, up to 52 percent of seniors may have D levels that are too low.
And second, that existing studies on D supplementation and bone mineral density have had mixed results. Some trials HAVE shown positive changes in folks with vitamin D deficiency… such as reducing falls or fractures… while others have not.
But they intend their study to add more information to the debate, NOT be the final word.
Bunches of benefits BEYOND bone mineral density
Now back to those benefits.
When you don’t get enough vitamin D, your risk for some chronic health conditions starts to soar. You’re more likely to suffer from obesity, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, for example.
Supplementing with vitamin D could reduce depression. And combined with calcium it could help you lose more weight.
Your immune system needs plenty of D to keep firing on all cylinders too. And research has found that folks who take a vitamin D supplement merely live longer.
And guess what the new study DIDN’T show?
It didn’t show taking vitamin D supplements doesn’t lead to any of these other benefits.
But there were a few USEFUL takeaways from the study.
We found out that…
- vitamin D supplementation can be safe even in higher doses
- D3 supplements CAN successfully raise D levels
- although D didn’t increase bone mineral density it still COULD have slowed bone loss
So, in the end, my advice is the same as it has always has been.
There’s a good chance you’re running low on D. And that’s especially true if you’re 60 or over. So ask your doctor about checking your levels.
If you find they need improvement, when possible spend more time in sun. Eat plenty of D-rich foods including wild-caught fatty fish, eggs, liver, and cheese. And consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
And don’t forget to eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, and avocados to make sure your body absorbs and metabolizes the D.