New Guideline for Vitamin D Intake: Is It Enough?

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An increase in the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D has been called for in new guidelines issued by the Institute of Medicine.

The new recommendations call for 600 international units (IU) daily, with 800 IU recommended for the elderly. The researchers note, however, that most Americans receive the necessary amount of vitamin D already and that taking more is not necessarily better. These researchers believe that taking more than this has no extra benefit on bones. However, there have been countless studies showing the benefits of vitamin D for decreasing cancer risk and improving the immune system.

Here is Dr. Jerry Teplitz’s view on the new guidelines. While a committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology reviewed the research on vitamin D and recommended increasing the amount of vitamin D from 400 IU per day to 600 IU per day, there are still questions about how they reached that decision and whether the dose increase is high enough.

Well, it turns out the members of this committee did not include any of the top researchers on vitamin D. This means that those with the most expertise on the subject were not involved in the decision-making process.

When you look at the recommendation of the committee, it differs sharply from what the experts recommended because the committee limited its review only to the impact that vitamin D has on bone health. The experts have been finding positive effects for vitamin D3 in many areas and are recommending increasing vitamin D3 to anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 units per day. They have found that optimizing your level of vitamin D can cut the risk of several cancers by 50% and the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43%.

Finally, while the committee said that most Americans have adequate levels of vitamin D, the experts said that about 85% of the US population is deficient in vitamin D.

So who is right? I am going with the real experts. By using supplements coupled with blood tests, I’ve been able to raise my level of vitamin D from 14 to the optimum level of 50 to 70 units (I’m at 56 units). What decision are you going to make for yourself?

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January 2011
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