Nowadays, it’s fair to wonder if vitamin D is what’s keeping those doctors away rather than the proverbial apple.
Vitamin D has been a star in the health industry recently – but is it really all it’s made out to be? We’ll discern between fact and fiction once and for all as we tackle some myths about vitamin D.
Myth: Clinical trials prove that vitamin D prevents cancer.
Truth: Recent studies suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and diseases such as obesity, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, and certain types of cancer.
Having said that, there are no placebo-based clinical controlled trials linking vitamin D with any disease other than osteoporosis, meaning there’s no real evidence about the vitamin and disease prevention as everything is based on epidemiological evidence (evaluating rates of disease based on population data and often, self-reported vitamin D intake).
“This is one reason why there is no bottom line on how much vitamin D one should supplement with in order to get the best health benefit,” says Reinhold Vieth, a leading expert on vitamin D and director of the Bone and Mineral Laboratory at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. “We just don’t know yet.”
Myth: Your body can produce sufficient vitamin D on its own.
Truth: Most of the vitamin D you get, as you may’ve guessed, comes from sunlight. The body doesn’t produce vitamin D persay, but produces it as a response to UVB ray exposure. This is why many people in northern climates have low blood levels of vitamin D – the limited sun exposure, especially during the wintertime.
Vitamin D supplements are a recommended alternative in cases where extended sun exposure isn’t possible; this is good for both adults over 50, and people who generally don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight or their diets.
Related: Signs You Need More Vitamin D
Myth: You don’t need a supplement if you spend a lot of time outside.
Truth: If you work outside year-round, you may not need a vitamin D supplement, says Vieth.
But since most of us aren’t guaranteed to be basking in the sun 12 months of the year, you’re best off asking your doctor on whether taking vitamin D supplements is right for you.
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