Adult in good physical shape (Healthy) do not need to take vitamin D supplements, suggests a study in The Lancet which found they had no beneficial effect on bone density, a sign of osteoporosis. But experts say many other factors could be at play and people should not stop taking supplements.
Supplementation to prevent osteoporosis in healthy adults is not necessary. However, maintenance of vitamin D stores in the elderly combined with sufficient dietary calcium intake remains an effective approach for prevention of hip fractures.
Bone mineral density is a measure of bone strength and measures the amount of bone mineral present at different sites in the body. It is often seen as an indicator for the risk of osteoporosis, which can lead to an increased risk of fracture.
The Department of Health currently recommends that a daily supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms (0.01mg) should be taken by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people over 65, while babies aged six months to five years should take vitamin drops containing 7 to 8.5 micrograms (0.007-0.0085mg) per day.
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, but it is also found in certain foods like oily fish, eggs and breakfast cereals. It was no good taking vitamin D supplements if people didn't also maintain a healthy, balanced diet containing calcium and take plenty of exercise. Most healthy people should be able to absorb enough vitamin D naturally, through sunshine and diet.
However, taking too much vitamin D in the form of supplements can be harmful because calcium can build up and damage the kidneys.