When a person enters a variety of stores and pharmacies, they will be offered a selection of dietary supplements and vitamins, each of which claims to be able to aid in the treatment of a certain condition. Every one of them will claim that they may increase the health of the brain, the number of red blood cells, etc.
Those that contain vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have a number of benefits, one of which being the ability to help lower the chance of becoming feeble in later life and to help maintain bone strength. Before a study that was conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and publicized its findings, a significant number of people may have held this belief.
Their study, which was published in the JAMA Network Open journal, followed 25,000 persons over the age of 50 from all 50 States in the United States for a period of five years. The remaining one-fourth of this group did not make any use of supplements at all, whereas the other three-quarters took their supplements on a daily basis.
The researchers were taken aback by the results of their investigation. At the end of the study period of five years, there was very little to no visible difference between those individuals who had taken the supplements and those individuals who had not taken the supplements.
They came to the following conclusion after writing it up in their paper: “In this accessory investigation of the VITAL randomized clinical trial, treatment with vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, compared with placebo, did not impact the rate of frailty change or incidence over time.”
According to the findings, “regular use of either vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acid supplementation for frailty prevention in generally healthy community-dwelling older persons who were not chosen for vitamin D3 insufficiency is not supported by our results.”
The group concluded that people over the age of 50 in the United States should stop taking the tablets, which they now consider to be “unnecessary,” and instead concentrate on alternative strategies to preserve overall health, such as regular exercise and dietary regimens like the Mediterranean diet.
This comes at a time when the firms behind these supplements – which generate big profits from them – are claiming that they can reduce inflammation and slow the age-related loss of muscle that occurs. This notion is debunked both by the aforementioned paper and by the absence of any supporting scientific data.
“We should consider deprescribing needless medicines and instead promote good lifestyle behaviors,” said Doctor Ariela Orkaby, who led the study and was the primary investigator. Both engaging in consistent physical activity and consuming a diet rich in foods from the Mediterranean region have been shown to reduce the risk of frailty and should be recommended in older persons.
“These new findings from VITAL are a crucial reminder that nutritional supplements are not wonder cures or elixirs of youth,” said epidemiology Doctor Joann Manson in the meantime.
Although the evidence reveals that these medications are inefficient at reducing the risk of frailty and the implications that come along with it, this does not mean that they are completely pointless. On the other hand, research on these advantages was not included in the report.
Both vitamin D and omega-3 oils are still considered to be important vitamins for the body, and shortages in either one can have extremely negative effects on a person. Vitamin D, for instance, is essential to the process of fortifying the immune system, and omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the preservation of brain health.
While these are known numbers, one aspect of vitamin D’s affect that has been examined in great detail on multiple occasions is its effect on COVID-19. In the early phases of the pandemic, it was thought that it would be possible to treat the virus using this substance.
Despite the fact that this hypothesis was quickly debunked, researchers are still looking into the possibility that it could be of some use to patients.
Putting an end to this debate and determining whether or not vitamin D could play a role in lowering the risk of COVID-19 were the goals of a study that was recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
According to the findings of the investigation, increasing one’s vitamin D levels during the pandemic did not correlate with any increased protection against COVID-19 or any other infections of the respiratory tract. This was determined by a series of experiments, the first of which was carried out during the months of December 2020 and June 2021.
According to the results of this experiment, vitamin D had no effect whatsoever on the participants’ risk of COVID-19. In the meantime, a second experiment was carried out in Norway between November 2020 and June 2021. This time, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin A, were included in the cod liver oil that was used in the experiment.
As was the case with vitamin D taken on its own, the participants in the study saw no difference or change in the level of protection they had. Despite this, the trials did not lack any of their own inherent restrictions.
Vitamin D supplementation is still suggested between the months of September and April, notwithstanding the limitations discussed above. This is due to the fact that the body is unable to manufacture the same levels of the vitamin that it normally would develop during the warmer summer months.
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a deficiency in vitamin D “may lead to bone abnormalities such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a disorder termed osteomalacia in adults.” On the other hand, while taking too little vitamin D can be dangerous, obtaining too much of it can be just as dangerous.
If the levels of the vitamin in the body are too high, this can cause calcium to build up in the body, which can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart. If the levels of the vitamin are too low, this does not cause calcium to build up in the body.
On the box, this amount can also be written as 4,000 international units (IU), while the recommended daily intake for adults is 100 micrograms. Dietary consumption is by far the superior method for meeting one’s daily vitamin D requirements.