June 9, 2017

Director's Letter  

This week we want to revisit the topic of the current US RDA for vitamin D and government recommendations for vitamin D serum levels. These were last set in 2010, and as we will recount below, none of our 48 vitamin D researchers agreed with the recommendations. There were three papers that were written about this decision, explaining why it was wrong, a Canadian petition with almost 10,000 signatures, and many editorials and blogs. (see sidebar for all these references)

The tide may be changing, and we hope to report on that soon, so we wanted to update you on the current situation, as it stands today. The better we understand today - the better we can move to the future.

After understanding where the government stands today, I encourage you to watch Dr. Mercola's interview with the late Dr. Robert Heaney, world-renowned vitamin D researcher, former research director for GrassrootsHealth and a wonderful friend and human being. A quote that I felt was significant was

"I think moving control out of the hands of an establishment into the hands of the general public carries a long way toward substantial improvement in public health because the official apparatus moves with glacial slowness."

That has always been a key for GrassrootsHealth, to create a REVOLUTION in health with vitamin D through providing information and tools to individuals, to YOU, so you can make your own decisions -manage your own health using real data and real research.

Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
  Explanation of Current US RDA for Vitamin D

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit institution comprised of scholars in various scientific fields, most of whom donate their time. It was created as an act of congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Its purpose is to provide independent, fact-based recommendations on scientific matters including science, engineering, and medicine. When you hear about the Institute of Medicine (IOM), this is the branch under NAS that is concerned with medical matters. In 2010 they set a new RDA for Vitamin D. This blog explains the current RDA and what the scientific community thought of these new recommendations.
    GrassrootsHealth Data Supports Much Higher  Vitamin D RDA

GrassrootsHealth scientists and staff have authored and published a paper , citing the D*action data, calling for the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to increase its current vitamin D recommended dietary allowance (RDA) from 600 IU/day to 7,000 IU/day from all sources.  Within the GrassrootsHealth cohort, it should be noted that the intake from sun, food, other sources than supplements averages about 3300 IU/day. 
This paper supports a paper from Paul J. Veugelers, PhD, which showed through statistical analysis, using the data the IOM chose to compute the RDA, that the   IOM made an error in their analysis and that the   RDA should be 8,895 IU/day.  
Both Veugelers and GrassrootsHealth, using a separate data set, have determined that the RDA is wrong by an order of magnitude. Using data   and standard methods of analysis, they both showed we need 10 times more than the current recommendation. 
                 The Real RDA for Vitamin D is 10 Times Higher than Currently Recommended

Dr. Robert Heaney, former research director for GrassrootsHealth, was  interviewed by Dr. Joseph Mercola about the current US RDA for vitamin D. Most vitamin D researchers disagree with the current RDA, citing it is too low, and Heaney does a great job of explaining that position.

In the beginning of the interview, Heaney mentions that institutions move with glacial slowness. So, we need to act now for our own benefit. The good news is that for a single person or a single medical practice, this is relatively easy. You find out your vitamin D level and adjust your supplements or sun exposure to get within 40-60 ng/ml (100-150  nmol /L). Many doctors, after they have seen a few patients with success using higher doses of vitamin D, learn to use it for their entire practice.

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A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D
Paul J. Veugelers, MD
John Paul Ekwaru
Oct. 2014
Read Paper

GrassrootsHealth Research Paper  
This paper shows that a supplemental dose of 9,600 IU/day will ensure that 97.5% of the population will achieve a serum 25(OH)D of at least 40 ng/ml. 
View Here  

 Guidelines for Vitamin D

Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
National Institutes of Health
Office of Dietary Supplements
Read Fact Sheet

IOM Report sets new dietary intake levels for calcium and vitamin D to maintain health and avoid risks associated with excess
November 30, 2010

Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D
AC Ross et al.
Institute of Medicine
National Academies of Sciences
(can download PDF for free)

How the RDA for Vitamin D Was Determined 
National Academies of Sciences
March 2015

Evaluation, Treatment and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline
Michael Holick et al.
June 2011
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Vitamin D in Prevention and Therapy and Biologic Effects of Light

June 21-23, 2017
Homburg, Germany

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