A trial from the University of Eastern Finland found that taking a much higher dose of vitamin D than recommended for five years did not affect overall mortality or the incidence of cardiovascular disease or cancer in men. and older women.
In population studies, low levels of vitamin D in the body have been linked to an increased risk of many chronic diseases as well as premature death. However, it cannot be directly inferred from these observational studies whether the use of vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of illness or death. The early 2010s saw the start of large-scale vitamin D trials in several countries examining the effects of higher than recommended doses of vitamin D on the risk of developing disease. One of these was the Finnish Vitamin D Trial (FIND) conducted at the University of Eastern Finland in 2012-2018.
In the FIND trial, 2,495 participants (men 60 years or older and women 65 years or older) were randomized for five years to either the placebo group or the 40 or 80 microgram groups (1600 or 3200 IU) vitamin D3 per day. All participants were free from cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start of the trial and were allowed to use their own vitamin D supplement up to 20 micrograms (800 IU) per day (the recommended intake for this age group). when the test was started). At the start and during the trial, search forms were used to collect comprehensive information from the subjects on lifestyle, nutrition, risk factors, and disease incidence. Information on the incidence of diseases and deaths was also obtained from national health registers. About a fifth of the randomly selected subjects underwent more detailed examinations and provided blood samples.
The majority were not vitamin D deficient at the start of the trial
During the five years of the trial, 119 participants developed cardiovascular disease, 129 subjects were diagnosed with cancer, and 19 died. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of events between the groups. Doses of vitamin D were found to be safe as no difference in side effects was observed between the groups. In the sub-sample examined in more detail, the mean blood concentration of vitamin D (calcidiol) was 75 nmol / L (30 ng / mL) at baseline. After one year, the mean concentration of calcidiol was 100 nmol / L (40 ng / mL) in the group taking 40 micrograms of vitamin D per day and 120 nmol / L (48 ng / mL) in the group taking 80 micrograms. of vitamin D per day. There was no significant change in calcidiol concentrations in the placebo group. Only 9% of subjects had low levels of vitamin D at baseline, that is, they had a blood calcidiol concentration below 50 nmol / L (20 ng / mL).
The results of the FIND trial are very much in line with other similar studies which have shown that taking doses of vitamin D higher than recommended for many years does not have a significant effect on the risk of develop cardiovascular disease or cancer if the body’s vitamin D status is already sufficient. In Finland, the average vitamin D intake of the population has increased since the early 2000s due, among other things, to vitamin D supplementation from vegetable oil spreads and liquid dairy products as well as increased use of vitamin D supplements. Securing your vitamin D intake with vitamin D supplements is always recommended, especially during the winter, if the diet is poor in sources of vitamin D, such as fish or foods fortified with vitamin D In Finland, vitamin D supplementation of 10 micrograms per day (400 IU) is recommended for the adult population; the recommendation is 20 micrograms per day (800 IU) for people 75 years of age and older. However, the study does not support the use of high doses of vitamin D for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
In addition to these main results, the FIND trial will provide comprehensive reports on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on, among others, type 2 diabetes, fractures and falls, mood changes, infections, pain and other results.
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