(HealthDay News) — Current evidence is insufficient to weigh the benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency to improve health outcomes in asymptomatic adults, according to a draft evidence report from the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force.

Erin LeBlanc, MD, from Oregon Health & Science University, and colleagues on behalf of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality conducted a literature search to develop evidence regarding the benefits of vitamin D treatment (with or without calcium) compared with placebo, calcium alone, or no treatment. Included studies evaluated asymptomatic populations from the United States, Canada, and Europe with serum 25(OH)D concentrations of ≤30ng/mL.

The researchers found that in treatment studies, mortality was decreased in those randomized to vitamin D treatment (with or without calcium; 11 studies; pooled RR, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70–0.99). However, the risk reduction was limited to studies of older, institutionalized persons (three trials; pooled RR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.56–0.94). Vitamin D treatment was not associated with a decreased risk for falling (five studies; pooled RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.69–1.02), but it was associated with fewer falls per person (five studies; pooled RR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.50–0.88). There was no association between vitamin D treatment and decreased fracture risk (five studies; pooled RR, 0.98; 95% CI 0.82–1.16).

“More research is needed to determine vitamin D treatment’s effects in younger, non-institutionalized adults and to clarify the subpopulations that are most likely to benefit from treatment,” the authors write.

Draft Recommendation Statement
Draft Evidence Report