New Vitamin D Recommendations: Skeptics Remain

Vitamin D: Is less now best? Not everyone agrees.
Vitamin D: Is less now best? Not everyone agrees.

According to NPR: "After two years of study and debate, the panel says children and most adults need 600 international units of vitamin D a day. People older than 70 need 800. That's more than the previous targets, set 13 years ago, of 200 units a day for young adults, 400 for those older than 50."

But some skeptics remain. Later in the piece, NPR quotes one vitamin D expert who says he won't change his advice to patients:.

Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, who discovered the active form of vitamin D 40 years ago and is a leading proponent of high doses, isn't backing away from his conviction that most people need at least 3,000 units a day. That's what he takes, and what he recommends to his patients. Sometimes he prescribes 50,000 units of vitamin D a week.

"My recommendation is very simple," Holick says. "I don't see any downside to increasing your vitamin D intake. When I've been recommending for the past decade that people take more than the [officially recommended] 200 units, there was a lot of skepticism. Now they're recommending three times what we recommended in 1997.

"I suspect a decade from now that they'll be recommending another three- or fourfold higher increase," Holick predicts.

I emailed Dr. Holick to ask more about why he remains so certain about the health benefits of vitamin D given the evidence. I'll let you know what he says.

This program aired on November 30, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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