Vitamin D- not as helpful as hoped for
About a year and half ago (May, 2009), I posted an essay that reflected some exciting possibilities for Vitamin D being helpful to health.
As noted at the time, the preliminary evidence suggested that increasing the level of your Vitamin D could possibly reduce the chance of a range of serious illnesses, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and colon cancer, from developing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had also recently established a recommendation for Vitamin D supplementation for all children, a policy we at Advanced Pediatrics supported.
Today, the nation's leading panel of medical experts, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a major report on the use of supplemental calcium and Vitamin D.
After studying over 1,000 studies on taking extra Vitamin D and calcium, the IOM found that with few exceptions, it was a bad idea.
Here are their findings:
- With regard to calcium, most Americans take enough calcium to meet all their needs. The one exception are girls ages 9-18. Older women tend to actually take too much and increase the risk of kidney stones.
- Vitamin D levels in America are much better than one would think. An adequate blood level of 25-OH-D, the form of Vitamin D that should be measured, is 20 ng/ml, not the 80 or 100 that was once proposed as a goal.
- Taking extra Vitamin D can cause harm to your health. Over 9 years of age, exceeding an intake of 4,000 Units a day can be harmful.
- The recent claims of health benefits from taking more Vitamin D than simply bone health requires are not supported by this review.
- The recommended dietary allowance for calcium every day is 700 mg for ages 1-3, 1000 from 4-8, 1300 from 9-18, 1000 from 19-70, 1200 from 51-70 females, 12000 if over 71.
- For Vitamin D the recommended dietary allowance is 600 units a day from age 1-70, and 800 after that.
The promise and hope that Vitamin D might do more than help bones form has been disproven.
No longer will we be recommending supplemental Vitamin D for most children.
The guidelines above will be our guide for calcium and Vitamin D intake, which is actually quite adequate for all but 9-18 year old girls who should work to make sure they take 1300 mg of calcium a day.
Dr. Arthur Lavin
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