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Vitamin D: do your homework

Two seemingly contradictory articles came out recently making it harder than ever to decide what if anything to do about personal vitamin D intake. In the New York Times there was a headline “Extra vitamin d and calcium Aren’t Necessary, Report Says.” And expert committee said that the so-called recommended amounts far exceeded what a person could achieve naturally making supplements necessary and that these amounts could even be harmful.

Yet, vitamin D sales have skyrocketed, more so than any other supplement, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Sales rose 82% in one year, a total of $430 million.

Then in the Wall Street Journal this headline appeared: “Triple that vitamin D Intake, Panel Prescribes”. What to do? A report by the Institute of Medicine released this week recommends tripling the dose of vitamin D to 600 IUs per day. That’s up from the 200IUs per day recommended in 1997.

What people may not take the time to understand is that 600 IUs is much lower than the amounts that some supplement manufacturers and health analysts are recommending. So while “tripling” might sound alarms, the recommendation does not contradict the Times article.

People are increasingly indoor creatures, sitting in front of our screens for hours, maybe days, at a time. Sunlight is necessary to achieve good health and acquire vitamin D naturally. Getting into the direct sun for an hour a week is enough for many people and reduces the need for supplements. Take a look at your own habits before you blindly take anyone’s advice about supplements.

Source: NYTimes

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