“The Big Vitamin D Mistake.”
When I first read that headline in a mainstream medical journal, I thought: Oh dear, here we go again.
I wondered if the editorial would be another mainstream diatribe against vitamin D, due to misguided concerns about “overdosing.” But, as I explained to you last week, overdosing on vitamin D is one of the rarest clinical conditions in the world. And the units used to measure vitamin D make the recommended doses seem high, when they really aren’t, compared to other dietary supplements or drugs.
So, I was pleasantly surprised when I got through the main article. (Yet another perfect example of why you should always read past the headline.)
For this excellent opinion piece, Dr. Dimitrios T. Papadimitriou, a Pediatric Endocrinologist with the University of Athens School of Medicine in Greece, argues that vitamin D deficiency is a pandemic problem. And he makes the case to significantly raise the recommended dosing levels of vitamin D.
Dr. Papadimitriou cites studies showing that not supplementing with enough of this critical nutrient is — in fact — “the big vitamin D mistake.”
I would take an even stronger stance….
In my view, lack of adequate vitamin D supplementation is probably the biggest medical mistake of the past century, with the most widespread health consequences for the greatest number of people.
Finland leads the way
Dr. Papadimitriou made mention of Finland, where health authorities gradually reduced their recommendation for daily vitamin D supplementation from 4,000-5,000 IU in 1964 to a paltry 400 IU in 1992.
Over that same period of time, the incidence of Type I diabetes increased by colossal percentages — and in children, no less. The prevalence of Type I diabetes climbed:
- 350 percent in children ages one to four years,
- 100 percent in children ages five to 9 years,
- 50 percent in those aged 10-14 years.
Then, in 2006, government health authorities made the decision to fortify all dietary milk products with vitamin D. And — voilà — the incidence of Type I diabetes plateaued and then plummeted.
But there are many other factors contributing to the worldwide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.
“Oops” — IOM’s vitamin D calculations off by factor of 10!
Dr. Papadimitriou argues the U.S. Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) statistical error in calculating daily vitamin D requirements caused a lot of damage, as I’ve previously discussed as well.
As you may recall, back in 2015, researchers at University of California San Diego and Creighton University in Nebraska discovered that the IOM’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D was off by a factor of 10.
That discrepancy wasn’t just a rounding error. It represented a huge, astronomical mistake with dire consequences for public health.
In fact, in a subsequent analysis, researchers found that 98 percent of people actually need to take in precisely 8,895 IU of vitamin D daily to achieve blood levels of vitamin D greater than 50 nanomoles/Liter (nmol/L).
In another study, researchers found that people need to take in 6,201 IU of vitamin D daily to achieve blood levels greater than 75 nmol/L, and 9,122 IU daily to reach 100 nmol/L.
As I explained earlier this month, you want your blood levels of vitamin D to be between 50 nmol/L and 75 nmol/L. Research links these optimal levels with prevention and reversal of a host of chronic diseases, as well as bone health. On the other hand, research links lower blood levels with significantly increased risk for a host of common chronic diseases.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there’s no evidence that higher blood levels of vitamin D are “unsafe.”
So, why is the U.S. government’s recommended “maximum” allowable intake only a measly 4,000 IU daily? It boggles the mind.
Dr. Papadimitriou calls for all public health officials worldwide to reconsider their RDA for vitamin D based on this new science. He says patients with blood levels lower than 50 nmol/L should supplement with vitamin D as follows:
–2,000 IU daily for those less than one year of age
–4,000 IU daily for those age one to 18 years
–10,000 IU daily for those over age 18
These higher intake levels correspond to those proposed by the Endocrine Society Expert Committee in 2011 as safe, upper, tolerable, daily limit.
They also align with my own recommendations…
As you know, I always urge you take 10,000 IU daily of liquid vitamin D, together with the marine carotenoid astaxanthin. Especially at this time of year when many Americans can’t spend nearly enough time in the sunlight.
Where are the U.S. experts?
I find it very discouraging we have to look to Finland and Greece for research to finally demolish the myth about the dangers of high doses of vitamin D.
These are two of the smallest countries, with the smallest medical research budgets, in the western world. In fact, as I write this article today, Finland is celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence. And virtually every generation of Finns over the past century has had to fight to keep its independence and freedom of speech. Greece has had a similar modern history.
I could even argue that Americans face the same struggle today. Especially in light of the crony-capitalist, mainstream medical system’s chokehold on American health.
We urgently need to take action to protect the global population from vitamin D deficiency, which is associated with an increased risk of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
It’s my hope that word continues to spread about how serious of an issue this really is. Health care providers should do the responsible thing and rethink their below-average recommendations and put a stop to this maddening domino-effect of illness and disease.
P.S. – Did you see the big announcement earlier this week about the launch of my brand new online learning protocol? I’m happy to announce my Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes is now accepting scholars. To learn more or secure your seat in our first enrollment class (spots are limited), click here!
“The Big Vitamin D Mistake,” J Prev Med Public Health, 2017, July 50(4): 278-281