- SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA PRNewswire-USNewswire
-- The following was released today by the Vitamin D Council:
- After 13 years of silence, the quasi governmental agency,
the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), yesterday
recommended that a three - pound premature infant can take virtually the
same amount of vitamin D as a 300 pound pregnant woman. While that
400 IU/day dose is close to adequate for infants, 600 IU/day in pregnant
women will do nothing to help the three childhood epidemics most closely
associated with gestational and early childhood vitamin D deficiencies:
asthma, auto-immune disorders, and, as recently reported in the largest
pediatric journal in the world, autism (1). Professor Bruce Hollis
of the Medical University of South Carolina has shown pregnant and lactating
women need at least 5,000 IU/day, not 600.
- The FNB also reported that vitamin D toxicity might occur
at an intake of 10,000 IU/day (250 micrograms), although they could produce
no reproducible evidence that 10,000 IU/day has ever caused toxicity in
humans and only one poorly conducted study indicating 20,000 IU/day may
cause mild elevations in serum calcium but not clinical toxicity.
- Viewed with different measure, this FNB report recommends
that an infant should take 10 micrograms/day (400 IU) and the pregnant
women 15 micrograms/day (600 IU). As a single 30 minutes dose of
summer sunshine gives adults more than 10,000 IU (250 micrograms), the
FNB is apparently also warning that natural vitamin D input as occurred
from the sun before the widespread use of sunscreen is dangerous.
That is, the FNB is implying that God does not know what she is doing.
- Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health,
just like they did 14 years ago. They ignored the thousands of studies
from the last ten years that showed higher doses of vitamin D helps: heart
health, brain health, breast health, prostate health, pancreatic health,
muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver
health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health. Tens
of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely
vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease,
rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant
women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low
levels are so common. However, such circular logic simply represents
the cave man existence of most modern day pregnant women.
- Hence, if you want to optimize your vitamin D levels
not just optimize the bone effect supplementing is crucial.
But it is almost impossible to significantly raise your vitamin D levels
when supplementing at only 600 IU/day (15 micrograms). Pregnant women
taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking
vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women.
Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin
D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on
their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does
not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or
lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts -- like
5000 IU/day -- is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy
optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along
- For example, taking only two of the hundreds of recently
published studies, Professor Urashima and colleagues in Japan gave 1,200
IU/day of vitamin D3 for six months to Japanese 10 year-olds in a randomized
controlled trial. They found vitamin D dramatically reduced the incidence
of influenza A as well as the episodes of asthma attacks in the treated
kids while the placebo group was not so fortunate. If Dr. Urashima
had followed the newest FNB recommendations, it is unlikely that 400 IU/day
treatment arm would have done much of anything and some of the treated
young teenagers may have come to serious harm without the vitamin D. Likewise,
a randomized controlled prevention trial of adults by Professor Joan Lappe
and colleagues at Creighton University, which showed dramatic improvements
in the health of internal organs, used more than twice the FNB's new adult
- Finally, the FNB committee consulted with 14 vitamin
D experts and after reading these 14 different reports the
FNB decided to suppress their reports. Many of these 14 consultants
are either famous vitamin D researchers, like Professor Robert Heaney at
Creighton, or in the case of Professor Walter Willett at Harvard, the single
best-known nutritionist in the world. So, the FNB will not tell us
what Professors Heaney and Willett thought of their new report? Why
not? Yesterday, the Vitamin D Council directed our attorney to file
a federal Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the IOM's FNB for the
release of these 14 reports.
- I, my family, most of my friends, hundreds of patients,
and thousands of readers of the Vitamin D Council newsletter, have
been taking 5,000 IU/day for up to eight years. Not only have they reported
no significant side-effects, indeed, they have reported greatly improved
health in multiple organ systems. My advice: especially for pregnant
women, continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your (OH)D] is between 50 ng/ml
and 80 ng/ml (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and
work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all
American laboratories). Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only
associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal
pneumonia (2), a doubled risk for preeclampsia (3), a tripled risk for
gestational diabetes (4), and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section
- Yesterday, the FNB failed millions of pregnant women
whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB
will comply with the spirit of "transparency" by quickly responding
to our freedom of Information requests.
- John Cannell, MD
- The Vitamin D Council
- (1) Cannell JJ.. On the aetiology of autism. Acta
Paediatr. 2010 Aug;99(8):1128-30. Epub 2010 May 19.
- (2)Karatekin G, Kaya A, Salihoglu O, Balci H, Nuhoglu
A. Association of subclinical vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute
lower respiratory infection and their mothers. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009;63(4):473-7.
- (3) Bodnar LM, Catov JM, Simhan HN, Holick MF, Powers
RW, Roberts JM. Maternal vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of preeclampsia.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(9):3517-22.
- (4) Zhang C, Qiu C, Hu FB, David RM, van Dam RM,
Bralley A, Williams MA. Maternal plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations
and the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus. PLoS One. 2008;3(11):e3753.
- (5) Merewood A, Mehta SD, Chen TC, Bauchner H, Holick
MF. Association between vitamin D deficiency and primary cesarean section.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(3):940-5.