Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do not do as I say


So two weeks ago I posted about vitamin D and all of its wonders. I wrote about the 50,000 iu weekly dose I am taking and warned everyone that low vitamin D levels are associated with a host of ailments, including cancer.

And today the New York Times published an article citing a study by a panel of experts who are saying, Yeah, actually, that vitamin D deficiency stuff is probably not a big deal. And that taking megadoses like the one I've been prescribed can actually be detrimental to your health.


So in case you're not interested in reading the article I linked to above, here are the highlights (and in case you're not interested in reading the rest of the post, the short story is you're probably fine):

- Most people do not need to take extra calcium or vitamin D

- There is not enough evidence to support claims that low vitamin D levels are linked to any diseases other than those associated with bone health.

- Using current standards for "normal" vitamin D levels, 80 percent of the population would be below standard.

- A level of 20 to 30 nanograms per milliliter is all that is needed for bone health, NOT the current standard of between 30 and 100 nanograms. (My level is 18. I have never personally heard of anyone testing higher than 30.)

- You only need 600 ius of vitamin D per day. The most natural method of getting enough vitamin D is through exposure to the sun, without sunblock.

- And most surprisingly, the article states: "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."

I am scheduled to take another megadose of vitamin D today, but I don't want to. So I'm not going to. I'm getting ready to email my doctor a link to this article and I'll ask if she still suggests I take it. I'll keep you posted!

Post script: Just received an answer back from my doctor. Her advice: "If you would like to discontinue the prescription, it is fine." Basically, I get to be my own doctor, which is what I usually do anyway. Therefore I prescribe myself sunshine. 


  1. Sounds good to me!! We should listen to our parents and play outside more. Probably healthier for all of us!!

  2. Hm, my husband recently did an independent study on vitamin D. Basically, everyone except for dermatologists says that vitamin D is really good for your health, and in pretty large doses. Of course sun exposure is best, because you can't OD on it that way. Interestingly, people who live in sunnier places are significantly and vastly less likely to get cancer. One new article downplaying vitamin D doesn't break down the years and variety of research about its benefits in my mind. So get some sun!

  3. I think the vitamin D story was planted by the vitamin C people.

  4. Here is a link to a very informative article that talks about the Vit D controversy and the RDA guidelines. It's pretty interesting.