Taking vitamin D every month will not help older Australians extend their life expectancy, a study has revealed.
On the other hand, consuming large amounts of vitamin D monthly may result in a slightly higher risk of dying from cancer, as shown in the results from the landmark trial by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.
The study, published in the Lancet’s “Diabetes and Endocrinology” journal, is considered one of Australia’s largest clinical trials. At one stage, it asked 21,000 Australians aged from 60 to 79 to take vitamin D every month for up to five years.
Rachel Neale, the lead researcher, said that her team conducted the D-Health Trial in 2014 as scientists were uncertain about the health benefits of Vitamin D.
According to Neale, people who were vitamin D deficient would benefit from a monthly intake of the vitamin; however, the study did not show that consuming vitamin D would lead to a lower mortality rate in Australians aged over 60.
“Most Australians are not vitamin D deficient according to current guidelines and the D-Health Trial suggests that if people are not deficient, taking vitamin D does not increase the chance of living for longer,” she said in a statement.
The researchers provided vitamin D to a number of participants, and a placebo to some others in the study. They then compared the mortality rates between the groups.
Neale said explorative results pointed out that the consumption of a large amount of Vitamin D every month may slightly raise the risk of dying from cancer. Nevertheless, she noted that the difference in the two groups of participants was small, and researchers have not verified this increased risk.
“Out of an abundance of caution we would advise that if people want to take a vitamin D supplement, they take a regular daily dose rather than a larger monthly dose,” she said. “This study does not support increasing the amount of vitamin D people are advised to have in their blood.”