Questioning Medicine: The Vitamin D Craze



(MedPage Today) – Now that the vitamin D research fires have begun to die down, I wanted to look into this apparent health fad to see what, if any, evidence came from the intense focus on this particular supplement. In 2012 alone, there were more than 3,600 publications in PubMed on vitamin D: opinion articles, small studies, large studies, evidence reviews, and meta-analyses. Then a review of the meta-analyses with a little “expert opinion” to top things off.

In the end, I think an overwhelming lack of definitive evidence was, in and of itself, the conclusion. We did, however, learn a few things about screening for hypovitaminosis D, potential outcomes associated with it, and potential benefits from treatment.


Just this week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said there was not enough evidence to support screening asymptomatic individuals for low vitamin D.

The main harm associated with testing for hypovitaminosis D is cost. Even though testing may hover around the $100 range, repeat non-evidence-based testing among several groups on an already strained healthcare system could redirect valuable healthcare dollars away from patients with other illnesses.


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