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Primary care
Vitamin D does not prevent fractures and falls
  1. Carl Heneghan1,
  2. Kamal R Mahtani2
  1. 1 Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Carl Heneghan, Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK; carl.heneghan{at}

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Whether vitamin D improves bone health has been unclear—that is until now. Early evidence suggested benefit, but a recent systemic review concludes there is no effect on fractures, falls or bone mineral density in primary prevention.

EBM Verdict

EBM Verdict on: effects of vitamin D supplementation on musculoskeletal health: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2018;6(11):847–58. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30265-1.

  • Current evidence does not justify routinely recommending vitamin D supplements to prevent fractures or falls in adults. Further evidence is unlikely to affect this result and guidelines should be amended to reflect this new evidence.

Many prominent bodies have recommended vitamin D supplementation in largely well people for the prevention of fractures.1 Whether this recommendation is correct, however, it has been unclear. That is until now.

In 2016, the Public Health England advised everyone should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D in autumn and winter ‘to help …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed to the drafting and writing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests CH and KRM are supported by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research Evidence Synthesis Working group (NIHR SPCR ESWG project 390). CH is also supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, is an NIHR Senior Investigator and Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. KRM is Associate Editor of BMJ EBM.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.