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Higher doses of vitamin D would prevent disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Vitamin D dose

Higher intake of vitamin D than previously believed could reduce the chances of breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes, suggest researchers.

The finding, published in Anticancer Research, suggests intakes of 4000-8000 IU of vitamin D are needed to reduce the risk of cancers, MS and diabetes.

Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center said, “I was surprised to find that the intakes required to maintain vitamin D status for disease prevention were so high – much higher than the minimal intake of vitamin D of 400 IU/day that was needed to defeat rickets in the 20th century.”

Robert P. Heaney, MD, of Creighton University says he wasn't surprised. Heaney, a distinguished biomedical scientist has has been studying vitamin D for several decades. He says it took a study of everyday people to confirm higher vitamin D intake can prevent disease, but something Dr. Heaney says dose-response studies predict.

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“Most scientists who are actively working with vitamin D now believe that 40 to 60 ng/ml is the appropriate target concentration of 25-vitamin D in the blood for preventing the major vitamin D-deficiency related diseases, and have joined in a letter on this topic,” said Garland. “Unfortunately, according a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 10 percent of the US population has levels in this range, mainly people who work outdoors.”

The results come from surveys of several thousand study participants taking 1000 to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D daily who underwent blood testing to detect levels of 25-vitamin D, the active form of the vitamin that circulates in the body.

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee, last year, published recommendations of 4000 IU/day of vitamin D as safe for every day use by adults and children nine years and older and 1000-3000 IU/day for infants and children through age eight years old.

The new vitamin D study shows 6000IU of vitamin D daily is needed to prevent disease. The dose is under the 10,000IU daily recommendation from the IOM, and higher than minimum recommendation of 600IUs daily.

Heaney says now it's time for everyone to make sure they're getting higher doses of vitamin D to prevent some major types of cancer, keep bones strong and lower chances of diabetes and other diseases.

This page is updated on May 18, 2013