Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Institute of Medicine's vitamin D report

I watched about 50 minutes of the IOM's video of the new report's press release. I thought it was remarkable how sincere the scientists were: they truly do not understand a lot of things going on with these vitamins, they're upping the vitamin D required significantly for most population groups from a 200 IU adequate intake to a 600 IU Recommended Dietary Intake with a 4,000 IU tolerable upper limit. They ignore vitamin D from sunlight.

They say later that most people in the United States get about 200-300 IUs from the diet. They grudgingly admit that most people are going to have to take vitamin D supplements; later they discuss that people could specifically target fatty fish (e.g. salmon) or specific fortified foods. When asked about what they think about people taking 1,000 or 2,000 IU supplements just in case, they said it probably wouldn't increase risk, although one cautioned against it noting the beta carotene and vitamin E examples, which looked good in observational trials but proved unhelpful or even harmful in randomized trials.

It's rather sad that they've done all these randomized controlled trials on bone health, but they didn't collect all this other information on these trial patients (cancer, immune system, etc). Without the randomized trials, the IOM could not say anything, which I don't blame them for given the history of observational trials. I'll be taking a 2,000 IU supplement to be on the safe side, and I'll be upping it from the occasional couple times a week to a routine thing. I'm still partial to the idea that the seasonal flu is caused by vitamin D deficiency.

If you aren't looking for something then you'll never find it, which is why I'm constantly disappointed by people who seem to reject the idea that focusing on the nutritional basics (rather than taking a bunch of drugs) can effectively improve health. It's also rather sad that we still don't even understand how something as basic as vitamin D relates to immune function when we've expended enormous amounts of money on various drugs which were harmful dead ends.

I may add more thoughts on this later.

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