"The intake of ordinary doses of Vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates. Interventions effectively strengthening Vit D status should result in reduced total mortality," they reported.
In their research, the scientists analysed the results of Vitamin D supplements taken by 57,000 people during 18 separate trials and found that those who took pills regularly were less likely to die over the six-year period.
Most of the participants in the trial were "frail" elders with low blood levels of Vitamin D, the scientists -- Philippe Autier from International Agency of Research on Cancer in Lyon (France) and Sara Gandini from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan (Italy) wrote.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble compound which acts like a hormone, regulating the formation of bone and absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the intestine. It also helps to control the movement of calcium between bone and blood and vice-versa.
The vitamin is produced naturally in the body through exposure to sunlight and is also found in salmon, tuna and other oily fish, and routinely added to milk.