Evidence is mounting that vitamin D in significantly higher levels than is currently recommended could greatly benefit our health. A 2007 analysis of vitamin D studies found that people with higher D levels are as much as 50% less likely to develop colorectal cancer. Another 2007 study showed that women taking 1,100 IU of vitamin D with a calcium supplement reduced their cancer risk by 60%. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, MS, type 1 diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and even early death. The growing number of studies and clinical trials such as these, and new understanding of vitamin D physiology, make a strong case for increasing the current vitamin D recommendations.
Despite this growing evidence, government regulatory bodies are refusing to increase vitamin D recommendations from the 1950’s levels, adequate for preventing rickets. Health Canada (2006) has set the AI (Adequate Intake) levels for vitamin D at 200 IU for ages 0-50, 400 for 51-70 and 600 for 71 and up. A 2008 WHO report on vitamin D concluded that there is insufficient evidence to change the current recommendations. How can this be?
The problem isn’t with the number of studies but the type. Studies to date have been epidemiological (looking for patterns in populations) or small clinical trials, which provide evidence but not proof. What government agencies are waiting for are large randomized controlled trials. The problem is such trials are unlikely to occur in our lifetime, if ever. They would involve thousands of people over at least 10 years and cost millions. Drug companies have no reason to make that kind of investment for an inexpensive non-patentable vitamin. And governments, so far, are unwilling to.
For the full article “Why governments are selling Vitamin D short” see www.ft.com and search for “vitamin D”.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.