Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NYT Reports on Vitamin D - Badly

Today's health watch comes, once again, from the New York Slimes, which has published a report that attempts to debunk the Vitamin D craze sweeping the nation.


I have heard and read several reports on the radio, online, and TV that suggest most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which opens the field to a host of diseases and health problems.


However a new report has brought into question previous findings about Vitamin D.

"The 14-member expert committee was convened by the Institute of Medicine, an independent nonprofit scientific body, at the request of the United States and Canadian governments. It was asked to examine the available data — nearly 1,000 publications — to determine how much vitamin D and calcium people were getting, how much was needed for optimal health and how much was too much."

"The very high levels of vitamin D that are often recommended by doctors and testing laboratories — and can be achieved only by taking supplements — are unnecessary and could be harmful, an expert committee says. It also concludes that calcium supplements are not needed."

"The group said most people have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their blood supplied by their diets and natural sources like sunshine, the committee says in a report that is to be released on Tuesday."

Here's my problem. They simply reviewed medical journals and reports, and did not create any new research. They also said,

"Evidence also suggests that high levels of vitamin D can increase the risks for fractures and the overall death rate and can raise the risk for other diseases. While those studies are not conclusive, any risk looms large when there is no demonstrable benefit. Those hints of risk are “challenging the concept that ‘more is better,’ ” the committee wrote."

Umm, you are reporting something you are treating as fact that in fact is INCONCLUSIVE? How is that a good recommendation?

Then there's this:

"Some labs have started reporting levels of less than 30 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood as a deficiency. With that as a standard, 80 percent of the population would be deemed deficient of vitamin D, Dr. Rosen said. Most people need to take supplements to reach levels above 30 nanograms per milliliter, he added.

But, the committee concluded, a level of 20 to 30 nanograms is all that is needed for bone health, and nearly everyone is in that range."

Great, awesome, thank you. I am not taking Vitamin D to promote my bone health. I am taking it to promote HEART health, which is what new studies suggest D can do, as well as preventing a number of ailments that are likely if you are Vitamin D deficient. Check out that grassroots link above for more info.

Basically, what I have read is that Vitamin D plays a larger role in our health than we have known. In addition, it is difficult to OD on Vitamin D, so taking extra won't harm you.

As a North American, I simply do not get enough sunshine and thus Vit D in my system. Not to mention, who is sunning themselves in winter?

I just don't think that 1) this report is a responsible action to take and is misinforming most people), and 2) that the NYT should have blatantly printed it without any kind of other opinion. From reading the comments on this article, I'm not the only one outraged at this kind of scientific mumbo jumbo.

I will continue taking my Vitamin D supplements, thank you very much, until a CONCLUSIVE NEW STUDY tells me different. And you should too.


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