LIFE&STYLE

Benefits of vitamin D tests unproven

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Nov 27, 2014 - 21:16
  • Updated : Nov 27, 2014 - 21:16
WASHINGTON, (AFP) ― Experts said Monday that regular tests for vitamin D levels were not proven to be beneficial or harmful, despite previous research warning of damaging effects of vitamin D deficiencies in adults.

Studies have found that low levels of the vitamin can increase the risk of bone fractures, heart disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and death.

But the US Preventative Services Task Force said there was no evidence that getting regularly tested for sufficient vitamin D decreased health risks.

“Current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency in asymptomatic adults,” USPSTF said in a statement.

“We found no direct evidence on effects of screening for vitamin D deficiency versus no screening on clinical outcomes.”

The experts from the federal panel said that tests should be ordered on a case-by-case basis and should not be conducted universally.

People get vitamin D from sunlight and from oily fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, as well as milk, eggs and cheese. It is also available in supplement form and is a key component for healthy bones and muscle strength.

A 2010 report by the US Institute of Medicine concluded that vitamin D was essential for bone health but did not find that a deficiency causes disease.

The Institute recommends 600 milligrams per day for adults under 70 years old and 800 milligrams for older people.