Vitamin D: Is it the new magical pill?

Vitamin D.  Is it a panacea?
 
We now know how important Vitamin D is to the body and how hard it is to get the recommended daily allowance when it is raining here in Wichita.  New guidelines show infants, children and adolescents need 400 IU of vitamin D daily.  So, children who consume less than one LITER of vitamin D-fortified milk per day will need supplementation. 
 
What does vitamin D do? 

  • It is essential for calcium metabolism and mineralization of bone.
  • Adequate levels of vitamin D may help decrease the risk of autoimmune  conditions, infection, and type 2 diabetes. 
  • Observational studies suggest vitamin D may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants and children. 
  • Subclinical vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the development of osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures and falls in the elderly, decreased immune function, bone pain, and possibly colon cancer and cardiovascular health. 
  • Many other benefits are suggested, but a study of 36,000 patients (Journal of National Cancer Institute 2008) did NOT find a protective effect against breast cancer.
     
    Breastmilk is best for newborns, but it does not supply enough vitamin D.  So, breastfed infants should receive 400 IU vitamin D daily (like Poly – Vi-Sol 1 ml daily) .  Formula fed infants will most likely have an adequate level of vitamin D and require no vitamin D supplementation.  Older children can get their 400 IU daily with Flintstone or gummy vitamins (check the serving size per age on the side of the bottle).
     
    Don’t I get Vitamin D from sunlight?  Yes, but most likely not an adequate amount.  Darker skin pigmentation, latitude, and amount of skin exposed make it difficult to assess how much sun the skin is getting.  Excessive sun exposure may increase the risk of skin cancer.
     
    For adults the suggested Vitamin D dosage is 600 IU a day.  A toxic dose of Vitamin D is over 2000 IU a day.  So, if you want to take anywhere between 600 to 2000 IU a day, that should be safe and effective.  While you are at it, Calcium 500 mg three times a day would be good for bone health, too!
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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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