In the past few years, sales of vitamin D supplements have soared. More and more people have been tested for vitamin D deficiencies, and many doctors advised their patients to up their intake. But this trend may be coming to an abrupt halt.
In this report, the IOM proposes new reference values that are based on much more information and higher-quality studies than were available when the values for these nutrients were first set in 1997. The IOM finds that the evidence supports a role for vitamin D and calcium in bone health but not in other health conditions. Further, emerging evidence indicates that too much of these nutrients may be harmful, challenging the concept that “more is better.”
Simply put: for most people, levels of vitamin D in the blood are sufficiently high and do not warrant supplementation. In fact, too much MAY BE HARMFUL!
Of course the “experts” from supplement industry will argue:
Andrew Shao, an executive vice president at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group, said the panel was being overly cautious, especially in its recommendations about vitamin D. He said there was no convincing evidence that people were being harmed by taking supplements, and he said higher levels of vitamin D, in particular, could be beneficial. Read more from the New York Times…
(Incidentally, “Council for Responsible Nutrition” sounds so official and non jaded, when in fact it is just a front group representing the interests of multi-billion supplement companies. A more fitting name would be “Buy More Supplements Interest Group”).
What you need to know:
Humans need vitamin D. It works together with calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy. That’s why milk is often fortified with vitamin D.
Our body sources Vitamin D in 2 ways:
- exposure to the sun
- from food / supplements
The top food sources are cod liver oil (as many baby boomers may recall from their childhood), sardines, tuna, eel, beef liver, mushrooms and eggs. Many foods are now being fortified with vitamin D,
The current recommendation for Vitamin D consumption is 400 IU (international units) per day. But many doctors are advising parents to increase their kids intake, especially in colder states where sunlight exposure is not an option for many months during the year.
The IOM will now recommend that the daily dosage increase to 600 IU, and not the mega-doses that some would have parents scrambling to provide their kids (up to 5000IU per pill).
The significance of the IOM report is that we can stop worrying about buying their kids supplements this or that vitamin, and get back to thinking about more important issues, such as eating meals made from real food, not processed junk foods.
What to do at the supermarket:
As we like to remind folks, try to get your vitamins and minerals from real food, not supplements. The best sources are foods