Putting Perspective on the Vitamin D Controversy

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | July 7th, 2011

Are you confused about the recent reports on ?

At the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments, the (IOM) examined numerous studies on vitamin D and calcium in order to clarify the many conflicting messages the public has received about vitamin D and calcium supplementation. Unfortunately, when the government tries to clarify an issue, the result is usually more confusion.

The IOM committee increased the vitamin D recommendations from 200 IU to 600 IU for ages up to 70 years. While it is a step in the positive direction, it is nowhere near what our physicians and other like minded proponents of vitamin D would recommend. In addition, the committee also concluded that “the majority of Americans and Canadians are receiving adequate amounts of both calcium and vitamin D.” This is certainly not what we have found in our practice and to assert this as absolute truth is to give the public a false sense of security resulting in inaction and possibly an increase in the most troubling diseases of our time. To further muddy the waters, the report warned that “excessive” vitamin D intake above 4000 IU per day could be harmful and that above 10,000 IU per day could cause kidney damage.

The media took this warning above and ran with it. The resulting confusion has led many to be afraid of doctor recommended dosages of vitamin D that are now deemed “excessive” by the IOM’s new recommendations.

There have been thousands of vitamin D articles over the decades proclaiming its benefits. The report itself mentions other studies finding huge benefits and credible vitamin D experts who completely disagree with the IOM. Should one “report” automatically cause us to totally dismiss previous volumes and almost reverse the way we think? Certainly, any additional study should give us pause to consider additional ideas. However, that one government-related entity should make a claim to render thousands of other studies worthless, is a rather incredible claim.

This claim that 10,000 IU of vitamin D each day could be harmful was made without giving the public a specific case where this amount had caused harm. Doctors have routinely prescribed five times that amount for those who were shown to be extremely deficient in vitamin D. We recommend that any vitamin D dosages above 2000 IU, must be monitored by a physician. Our personal experience with thousands of patients has shown us that 2,000 IU daily rarely brings low levels to an acceptable range (more than 50 ng/mL). Thousands have taken 10,000 IU daily while monitoring blood levels with almost no ill effects. In our experience, doing this is safer than taking Tylenol.

The report also leaves the public with the belief that all they need to do is just get a little more sun. We are all for this! Non-burning sun exposure seems to decrease cancer risk, including melanoma. Unfortunately, we see very sunny, tanned Texans every summer with very low vitamin D levels. It is possible that something has impaired our ability to make vitamin D adequately, increased our demand to exceed our ability to make it, or both. Many vitamin D experts believe that this deficiency is one of the reasons our rates of certain diseases are increasing. Considering that the incidence of degenerative diseases, ADD/ADHD and autism are alarmingly on the rise, we believe that it is a credible claim that low vitamin D levels may be partially responsible. Given its proven safety and the low cost of treating/monitoring, we believe that not advocating a vitamin D regimen is a disservice to the public.

Having said that, it is important to note that giving everyone 2000 IU of vitamin D daily is not the way to dose vitamin D. It should be based on need, which is determined through sustained blood serum levels of vitamin D.

To learn more about the case for vitamin D there are numerous articles and studies from credible vitamin D experts on the web. Visit or for more information.,  

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