Discussion
  • This is helpful information, Bob. Do you have a number for ‘higher levels’? I have read 1000-5000 IU daily are recommended particularly for individuals with inflammatory, autoimmune and other disease processes. Thanks.
    Becky Work

    From Rebecca Work
    December 2, 2011

New Vitamin D Guidelines

On November 30, 2010, the long awaited updated guidelines for vitamin d were released by the Food and Nutrition Board. While the average daily recommended amounts increased, they did not increase as much as was anticipated or as much as many vitamin d experts thought they should.
The levels went from:
200 IU to 400 IU for infants to 12 months
200 IU to 600 IU for ages 1 – 50
400 IU to 600 IU for ages 50 – 70
600 IU to 800 IU for ages 70 and older
Many experts anticipated the new amounts to be in the 1000 – 2000 IU range. Evidence had been accumulating that levels in that range my not only improve bone health, the issue that is mostly associated with vitamin d, but may also have many other health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes and auto immune disorders.
The Board was conservative in their recommendations indicating that while the evidence for other health benefits was mounting, it was not strong enough to be considered in making the new recommendations. So while the levels are adequate for good bone health, they may not be enough to provide the other benefits. There have, however, been several studies recently that add weight to the evidence that higher levels of vitamin d may in fact lower the risk of health disease and other causes of death.
The most recent study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, found that in those with low blood levels of vitamin d, boosting them with supplements halved the risk of dying from any cause compared to those who remained deficient. Previous studies have found that between 25 and 70 percent of adults have insufficient levels of d—that’s a lot of people that may benefit from vitamin supplementation. How do you know if you are one of them? The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is ask your doctor for a 25 – hydroxyvitamin d test. For those with level below 30 nanograms per milliliters, supplementation may be indicated.Very high levels of vitamin d may be prescribed for a short period to boost them.
Since vitamin is not widely available in food, it is difficult if not impossible to meet our vitamin needs by diet alone. And while vitamin d is manufactured in the skin when exposed to sunlight, many especially in the north do not get enough exposure to produce adequate levels. Dr.James l Vacek, professor of cardiology at the University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center, and one of the researcher involved in the study cited above, recommends that adults take between 1000 to 2000 IU a day to maintain healthy levels.
Most of the studies published in the last few years involving supplements have failed to show any benefit and some suggest more harm than good. It appears that vitamin d may be the exception.

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