I am so sick of the back and forth and completely contradictory news stories that are always coming out about vitamin supplements. I hope people take this latest report with a grain of salt. Vitamin D is ABSOLUTELY extremely important and it can be too low. When I was first tested because I was showing signs of a neurological disease my Vitamin D levels were 17. And since Vitamin D levels is one of the very first blood tests they do when you have a neurological problem, seems pretty important to me. I was ultimately diagnosed with a progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disease and it took me THREE YEARS of megadosing (I mean taking between 4 and 10 thousand ius of liquid D3 daily) to get my Vitamin D levels up. For the last two years there have been reports of low D levels being related to Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, and a whole host of other neurological and autoimmune illnesses and now we're just supposed to throw it all out the window? This shit is crazy making (and dangerous to people's health and well being).
Re: Vitamin supplements: First of all, a doctor is the last person to recommend supplements, as (in general) Western medicine waits until there is a problem, and then treats symptoms. Western medicine has never been a big promoter of preventative measures. (Sure, there are plenty of great, enlightened doctors out there, but they do not constitute the majority.) Calcium levels of 1,000 mgs from the food we eat? Seriously? First of all, it's nearly impossible to achieve those levels today from vegetable sources, as our soils are so depleted. That would mean most of that calcium is coming from dairy sources, I assume. The problem with dairy is that we don't digest it efficiently (we aren't baby cows with 4 stomachs, after all) and only absorb about 20% of the dairy calcium we consume. Calcium from vegetable/fruit sources is much more easily digested/absorbed, yet due to our soils, that leaves one with supplements. And even if people *were* getting and absorbing all the calcium they needed from their food, our outrageous soda pop consumption levels pretty much kibosh the calcium anyway, as sodium phosphate leeches calcium from the body. For every study like this, I have read anecdotal evidence that vitamins make a huge difference for people, including my mom, who can now bend her fingers again thanks to the supplement for joints that I send proof, just a happy mom. Take yer vitamins!
I find it odd that the remarks about Vitamin D in the linked article indicate that sunshine plays a key part, but the scientists make no mention of those of us who go long periods of time without seeing the sun. Vitamin D supplementation may not be so necessary in Arizona, but what about in Washington or Alaska?
Joe Miller, in keeping with typical delusional right wingers, will cry and stamp his feet until he gets his way or ruins Murkowski's career.
@1,2 Anecdotes: Please remember that there are always legitimate exceptions to every medical suggestion.

Progressive, degenerative neuromuscular disease? I'm truly sorry to hear that. You certainly fall into a smaller group of people that have different physiological requirements. Canuck, it sounds like your mom also has extra-dietary requirements.

The POINT, however, is that the vast majority of people probably don't need excess calcium or vitamin D. This is especially relevant as too much D can be detrimental to your health.

Let's try to understand that these are not blanket suggestions that apply to everyone, but rather a rebuttal to the trending overuse of these supplements. Often people take extra vitamins as more of a lifestyle decision than out of actual medical need.

Also, can we wait until the actual report comes out (and read it) before we slam its finding?
Well, Danger, you can die from drinking too much water, as well. Certainly, too much Vitamin D would be harmful, but 1000mg isn't too much...taking five pills at once? Yeah, that probably wouldn't be good. And Sir Vic is right, in the Northern regions, lack of Vitamin D from the sun is a legitimate concern, which I believe is what the original Vitamin D studies found: Higher rates of certain cancers and other diseases in Northern latitudes. So, perhaps surfers in LA and golfers in Arizona are getting plenty of Vitamin D, but many, many people spend their winters either indoors, or bundled up against the cold when they're outdoors.

And what you said about "actual medical need"? That's just what I mean: Western medicine will wait until there's a problem, a "medical need," before treating a person. Just my personal belief, obviously, but I think it is far healthier to avoid the "medical need" in the first place, if possible, and I think that can be achieved through smart lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, and yes, supplements.

As far as my mom goes? Sure, she's 73, and has arthritis. If arthritis is caused by inflammation, which is caused by an overly acidic diet, then yes, something to counteract that is helpful. I think as people age, they process food less efficiently, and supplementation by vitamins could help almost any elderly person. In my opinion.
@6 By medical need I include prevention. Furthermore, "western medicine" is the primary proponent of dietary supplements. This incredibly reductive approach to nutrition is an unfortunate byproduct of modern medical scientific method.

This report is based on existing research. From a scientific standpoint, I'm not interested in your beliefs or opinions, I want to hear your testable hypothesis and believe it or not there is a TON of data on D deficiency that cover many of the concerns you have.

The point is not that no one needs supplements, but rather that perhaps too many people take them.

But the study admits that testing for Vitamin D is going up, which implies that people aren't just taking it willy nilly. They're taking it after having their levels checked, at which point they're found to be too low or nearly too low.
RE: vitamin D: My doctor prescribed once-a-week 50,000AU D supplements this spring because my D count was down to 23 after a Seattle winter, along with daily 400AU pills. D is also related to how your body manages cholesterol, and my doctor said that it was incredibly common in the PNW and northern latitudes to be D deficient to dangerous levels.
On the topic of Vitamin D, my husband was found to be severely deficient in it just 2 weeks ago. He was at 7 ng/mL, his doctor stated that was the lowest he had ever seen.

Of course this is anecdotal, and I recognize that the majority of people probably don't need to take vitamin D supplements but I think these exceptions are a good reminder that people shouldn't always assume they're part of the majority.
I agree with xina and Canuck. Gina Kolata, the NYT science writer of the Vitamin D piece, has been accused of being a corporate apologist. Vitamin D cannot be patented, so pharmaceutical companies can't profit hugely from it. Ms. Kolata does not reference the Vitamin D council, does not link to a chart showing how much risk for various cancers: bladder, colon, prostate, breast; and multiple sclerosis can be reduced when Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) stores are sufficient in the body.

Dr CJ Rosen, one doctor Ms. Kolata cites, has published articles testing for the effects of alendronic acid or alendronate, patented as Fosamax, with Vitamin D. Fosamax fills in the bones with a chalky substance as a way of adding bone density.The body needs Vitamin D3 to absorb calcium. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to hazard a guess that this article resulted from a soon-to-be-released report that Fosamax and Vitamin D2, not D3, do not work so well in prevention of osteoporosis.

77 page PowerPoint presentation on cholecalciferol's effects in cancer prevention. More people are at risk of cancer than are at risk of osteoporosis. 80 nmol/L of Serum 25(OH)D --Vitamin D3--in the blood is the sweet spot for optimum absorption of calcium and low risk of cancers. Most people living north of the 42nd parallel cannot achieve 80 nmol/L without Vitamin D3 supplementation.
You guys are sure making me happy I live south of the 40th parallel and get 300 days of sun a year.
Oh I welcome thousands of internal bank docs to be released. I'm kind of opposed to the diplomatic wires being released b/c that could literally cause WW3 if some insane leaders like Kim Jung Ill and Ahmadinejad team up their nuclear resources and plan something disastrous because they realize their supposed allies really can't stand their guts.

The thing is that there are a lot of scare stories about how easy it supposedly is to overdose on Vitamin D, which isn't all that true. It's for that reason that I never took supplements until my doctor tested my D levels and prescribed it. I'm extremely skeptical that most people who take D supplements are doing it just cause.
@13, that can happen anyway.

Man i hope it isnt Chase, I dont want another failed bank!
Not sure if anyone cares, but there's a glaring typo in the Dandy Warhols banner ad (the day is wrong) currently atop Slog.
@16, good catch. Saturday is the 4th, not the 3rd. So which is it?
Who cares, it's the fucking Dandy Warhols.
Inadequate quantities of vitamin D can also lead to increased and prolonged inflammation. While inflammation can occur anywhere in the body, this symptom often presents as an inflammation of the gums, and over time can cause periodontal disease.
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.