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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported October 25, 2012

Time to Ditch Vitamin D?


(Ivanhoe Broadcast)—Vitamin D is a popular supplement. It promotes bone health and may prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. While researchers debate whether or not supplements effectively protect against such a wide range of bodily ailments, the Institute of Medicine has issued new guidelines reducing required levels.
The organization concluded that patients with vitamin D blood levels at 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or above do not need a supplement. Prior to the recommendation, patient vitamin D levels were considered sufficient if blood levels were at 30 ng/ml or above. Researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine completed a study to better understand the effect new levels would have on American supplement intake. 
Holly Kramer, MD, MPH and her team analyzed data collected in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES III) to extrapolate the new guidelines on a national platform. They reviewed 15,099 adult patient summaries of which 1,097 had chronic kidney disease—a condition commonly associated with low levels of vitamin D. 
They found that over 70 percent of healthy adults and those with chronic kidney disease would have been prescribed supplement for insufficient vitamin D levels under older guidelines, but only between 30 and 35 percent of these adults would still qualify under new guidelines. Researchers were able to extrapolate national statistics from the NHANES III because the dataset is representative of the entire population. Simply put, about 80 million Americans would no longer need vitamin D supplements. 
Though the Institute of Medicine guidelines incorporate input from over 1,000 published studies and expert testimony, the new levels have not been universally embraced. Organizations including the Endocrine Society still employ the old guidelines. It is important that patients consult with a physician to determine the best course of action for their personal wellness plan. 
Source: PLOS ONE
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