Not All Research is Good
Some people have emailed, concerned about the hype from a recent “study” on vitamin D. The National Public Radio (NPR) released the results of a high-level panel conclusion from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This panel said that 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium daily doesn’t reduce the risk for bone fractures in postmenopausal women.
In general, NPR does decent research and releases good information on health related issues. They blew it this time!
NPR said researchers are not convinced that vitamin D and calcium prevent fractures in postmenopausal women. They also said there are not enough good studies to really tell. Well, there are many good studies available. I guess it just depends on what you want to see.
One of the biggest mistakes they made is that they used the standard government recommendation of 400 IU a day as the focal point. The studies they looked at focused on the old low-dosage vitamin D supplementation of 400 IU a day. They didn’t consider studies that used more than 400 IU of vitamin D.
This means they obviously didn’t look at all the studies. Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients in our bodies. If you aren’t aware of its many uses – and the consequences of having insufficient amounts – just go to Vitamin D Council’s website (www.vitamindcouncil.org). You’ll find good studies on this nutrient and fractures, cancer, autoimmune conditions, and many more health conditions.
Vitamin D and Bone and Muscle Strength
However, most of the good studies use far more than 400 IU of vitamin D. Even the Harvard School of Public Health says this about vitamin D:
“Vitamin D plays a definite role in bone health and reducing fractures; the central issue is, what is the minimum dose that is effective? Several randomized trials have shown that vitamin D supplementation prevents fractures—as long as it is taken in a high enough dose.
Researchers found that high intakes of vitamin D supplements—of about 800 IU per day—reduced hip and non-spine fractures by over 20 percent, while lower intakes (400 IU or less) failed to offer any fracture prevention benefit. Vitamin D dose matters: A combined analysis of multiple studies found that taking 700 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day lowered the risk of falls by 19 percent, but taking 200 to 600 IU per day did not offer any such protection.
Taking a vitamin D supplement of 800 to 1,000 IU per day will help people, on average, achieve adequate blood levels of vitamin D (30 ng/mL). These vitamin D amounts are safe, falling well below the newly raised vitamin D upper limit of 4,000 IU per day—and they are easy to achieve, since more and more multivitamins now contain 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D.”
Even the International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that adults over age 60 aim for vitamin D blood levels of 30 ng/ml. Most people will need vitamin D supplements of at least 800 to 1,000 IU per day, and possibly higher, to reach these levels.
You see, the reason 400 IU of vitamin D doesn’t work for most women is that it’s just not enough to do any good. Most postmenopausal women are so deficient in vitamin D, they may even need at least 2,000 – 5,000 IU or more a day.
Easy on the Calcium
What’s even better is that, if you’re taking this much vitamin D, you don’t need to take the usually recommended daily 1,000-1500 mg of calcium. (Actually, the calcium receptors in your digestive system can’t take in any more than 500 mg at a time anyway, so recommending taking any more is misleading information. Most people get enough in their daily food, they just need more vitamin D and boron to absorb and use it better.
Doctor, Bruce Hollis, MD of the University of South Carolina, said the panel should be ashamed of reporting this misinformation. Hollis says, “The amounts of vitamin D they’re recommending are extraordinarily low. They’re basically the level an infant should get. To me it’s appalling. I think the report is a sham.”
I agree! Vitamin D is crucial for a healthy body and mind. That is why we have 1,000 mg and boron in our Foundation multi-nutrient – and, in the winter (being in Oregon), I often take even more.