“You’ve got to take Vitamin D3,” my sister firmly advised me a few of years ago, after she visited a new doctor. “We need it for our bones.”
So I ran out to buy Vitamin D. Then I made an appointment to see Dr. A myself. She said my blood work revealed that I had a low Vitamin D level (26 nanograms per milliliter versus a normal range of 30 to 80) and recommended I take a super high dosage. “The sun is the best source of D,” she explained, but since we’ve become more and more sun-shy and use moisturizers with high PDFs, we don’t get enough.
Now a 14-member expert committee, brought together by an independent non-profit scientific body called the Institute of Medicine, says a level of 20 to 30 nanograms of Vitamin D is all that we need for bone health and nearly everyone is in that range. The sun, as well as our diet, supplies us with adequate amounts.
Convened at the request of the US and Canadian governments, the committee reported that previous studies, which showed a correlation between lower levels of Vitamin D and various diseases, were misleading. It now recommends 600 international units of Vitamin D daily. “It is not clear how or why the claims for high Vitamin D levels started, medical experts say,” according to an article in The New York Times.
“Evidence also suggests that high levels of vitamin D can actually increase our risks for fractures and the overall death rate and can raise the risk for other diseases,” the article continues. Although this evidence isn’t conclusive, it doesn’t make sense to take more than the recommended amount if there’s no benefit.
What’s an FOF to do? For now, I’ve decided to take 5,000 international units a week, slightly more than the recommended dosage. That is, until the next study, which will surely contradict this one.
P.S. Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish FOF friends!