In recent years vitamin D has been hailed as one of the most important supplements a person can take. Many properties have been assigned to it including the prevention of heart disease. Some people even claimed that It can prevent cancer. A large-scale study named VITAL has been conducted in order to finally give credence to these claims.
Participants were split into two groups. One was given 2000 international units of vitamin D, while the other group was given a placebo. Unfortunately, there was no difference in cancer or heart disease risk between the two groups. This all but demystifies a vitamin that was once considered to be able to strengthen bones and even prevent different diseases.
It has previously been proven that a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart disease and other heart-related issues, but VITAL is the largest study that set out to prove whether increasing the levels of vitamin D can help prevent cardiovascular disease. The study was conducted on 25,000 participants aged 50 and older for a period of six years. All the participants were of good health, with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Around 5,000 people were also tested due to the fact that their pigmented skin produces less vitamin D overall. During the study around 400 people suffered or died from cardiac disease. It was a similar case with cancer, as around 800 people from both groups were diagnosed with invasive cancer.
Previous studies have shown that vitamin D may not have the beneficial properties scientists previously claimed. The issue with those studies was that they were on a much smaller scale and used smaller amounts of vitamin D. Additionally, the studies were designed to test other health benefits than the ones researched by VITAL.
In short, there is almost no difference, health-wise, when taking vitamin D or a placebo pill.