Contrary to popular belief, taking vitamin D supplements actually does not reduce the risk of having a heart attack, suffering a stroke, or getting an invasive cancer, according to the results of a very large clinical trial.

Soak up that sun… or not?

We usually hear about vitamin D when it comes to going to the beach, because our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun. It’s good for maintaining overall health and having strong bones, but also making sure the human muscles, lungs, heart and brain work well enough to fight off infection.

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Because of its importance, many people have resolved to swallowing supplements in order to increase their vitamin D intake.

Are supplements really necessary?

No. There are supplements for everything nowadays, so how are we supposed to know whether we should take one over another or just swallow them all? Well, you can cross vitamin D off your list.

Science 101

A recent VITAL trail found that there wasn’t a significant difference in cancer or heart heath risks between people taking 2,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day and those who took a placebo pill.

The most definitive trial on this issue to date

The general population does not need to be taking vitamin d for cardiovascular or cancer health. It is well known among researchers that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are typically at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke, but VITAL specifically tested whether boosting levels of the vitamin can actually prevent the onset of a heart attack. The study followed 25,871 ethically diverse men and women in the United States above the age of 50 for up to six years. They were relatively healthy with zero history of cancer or heart conditions.


Among the people taking the daily dose of vitamin D, 396 suffered from a heart attack or stroke compared with 409 taking the placebo. 793 of those taking vitamin D were diagnosed with cancer in relation to 824 of those taking the placebo. The differences were insignificant, proving that a universal supplement of vitamin D, isn’t really worthwhile.