You may have seen news reports lately suggesting that Americans shouldn’t take vitamin D, especially for preventing cancer or fractures. Many of the reports also stated that the risk of developing kidney stones from vitamin D and calcium could outweigh its potential benefits. Folks, these reports aren’t only outrageous, they’re downright dangerous!
New Vitamin D Recommendations Are Wrong
The new recommendations are based on a U.S. Preventive Services task force (USPSTF) analysis of the latest scientific studies on vitamin D. The USPSTF concluded that there isn’t enough information to show vitamin D can prevent cancer or fractures. Yet they did concede that for people older than 65 who are at high risk of falling, vitamin D can help.
The USPSTF employed two evidence reviews and a meta-analysis of previous studies to make its vitamin D recommendation. But I can’t imagine which studies the task force reviewed to reach their conclusions.
There are more than 38,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles in the National Institutes of Health database on vitamin D. They show that vitamin D supplementation is protective against:
- Heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Falls and fractures
- And more
Vitamin D Recommendations Too Low
The USPSTF admitted that in the largest study they reviewed—the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study—the vitamin D dose used may have been too low to produce any benefits. How low was it? A paltry 400 IU! No wonder they found no benefit. What’s more, the National Bone Health Alliance was quick to issue a press release highlighting the fact that the USPSTF’s vitamin D recommendation does not apply to postmenopausal women or people with osteoporosis, low bone mass, or those who have suffered a bone break after age 50.
Finally, folks, we’ve been down this road before. Back on November 30, 2010 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) dropped a bombshell setting the “tolerable upper limit” of vitamin D at just 4,000 IU for adults. This is nonsense, since your body can produce between 10,000 IU and 25,000 IU after just 30 minutes in the sun. As I said then, those ridiculous guidelines will do serious harm to the American public. I can’t imagine what’s going to come out of these even newer vitamin D recommendations.
What’s the bottom line for you? Regardless of whether the government adjusts their vitamin D recommendations, you want to make sure you’re getting enough. The dose you require depends on your sun exposure, geographic location, skin color, age, weight and other factors. There truly is no single dose that’s right for everyone.
As a general rule, I’ve found that 2,000–5,000 IU daily works for most people. Your best bet is to have your blood level of vitamin D (25(OH)D) tested and take enough supplemental vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) to keep it in the optimal range of 50–80 ng/mL.
Now it’s your turn: Do you supplement with vitamin D?
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