In recent years, vitamin D from dietary supplements has become increasingly popular, even outside of medical prescriptions.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, vitamin D, much like other remedies and “remedies,” had also been touted as helping prevent severe disease progression. But as early as 2021, experts from the German Society for Nutritional Science, after reviewing dozens of scientific studies, stated, among other things: “Currently, there are no arguments to justify vitamin D supplementation in individuals with adequate vitamin D status with the aim of preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection or reducing the severity of covid 19 disease.”
In addition, the DGE experts warned that a continuous overdosage with Vitamin D preparations should be avoided. It could lead to undesirable side effects such as kidney stones, kidney calcifications as well as disturbances of the cardiovascular system. In February of this year, the Austrian Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism (ÖGKM) stated in response to the vitamin D hype that vitamin D administration could not be advocated for all healthy people, regardless of age.
Consistently negative clinical trials have been conducted using vitamin D supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease. The most recent example was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (DOI:10.1136/bmj-2023-075230). Briedie Thompson (Public Health Program at Herston in the Australian state of Queensland) and her Australian co-authors conducted a large placebo-controlled trial involving 21,316 subjects aged 60 to 84 between 2014 and 2020. After randomization, 10,662 participants received 60,000 International Units of vitamin D3 once a month, and 10,653 swallowed a placebo tablet once a month for five years.
Effect of Vitamin D on severe cardiovascular events
The primary research objective was the effect of vitamin D intake on serious cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke and the need for bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization intervention). Data from 21,302 individuals were analyzed. The result: The group taking vitamin D showed a six percent frequency of acute diseases. In the placebo group, it was 6.6 percent. The difference was insignificant so it could have been just as much a coincidence.
Only the frequency of heart attacks alone showed a statistically significant difference of 19 percent fewer hospital admissions in the vitamin D group. Strictly scientifically speaking. However, that was not the actual goal of the study. There was no meaningful difference between the two groups in the need to restore oxygen supply to the heart due to narrowing of the coronary vessels (bypass, catheter intervention) or in strokes.
According to the German Medical Journal, a meta-analysis with study data from more than 83,000 subjects in vitamin D studies was already published in 2019 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which found no effect of vitamin D on the incidence of strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular deaths overall (DOI:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.1870). U.S. scientists reached a similar conclusion in a 2019 study of 25,871 subjects taking daily vitamin D or a placebo with an observation period of six years in the New England Journal of Medicine (DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1809944). “Vitamin D supplementation did not produce the result of a lower incidence of invasive cancer or cardiovascular disease than placebo,” the authors wrote. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the research project.
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