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  • Bruce Larsen
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Being the vitamin D guru that I am, it would have been irresponisble of me not to share this information here with you.  As GrassrootsHealth says, "Quite simply, the IOM got it wrong."

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issues dietary recommendations on the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments, and these recommendations are looked to by medical authorities, professionals, and experts around the globe. Therefore, they are responsible for esuring that their recommendations are correct. One of these recommendations is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), or the nutrient intake considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97.5% of healthy individuals. 

For years, scientists have postulated that the IOM's recommendation of Vitamin D for optimum health needed to be much higher than currently recommended. They were right.  

The current RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU per day for individuals 1 to 70 years of age, which is assumed to achieve serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels of 20 ng/ml or more in 97.5% of healthy individuals. Serum 25(OH)D is the established measurement for vitamin D status and levels of 20 ng/ml or more have been shown to benefit bone health and to prevent rickets.  Dr. Paul Veugelers, Research Chair in Nutrition and Disease Prevention at the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, has recently re-evaluated the calculations performed by the Institute of Medicine(IOM) to derive the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D – the full publication can be found here.

The analyses in this paper shows that rather than 600 IU/d, it would take 8,895 IU/d to achieve 25(OH)D above 20 ng/ml in 97.5% of the population using data from 8/10 studies that the IOM considered (the other 2 studies did not report all necessary information). In other words, the RDA should be 8,895 IU/d.

And to make matters worse, decades of research have shown that 20 ng/ml is not enough to sustain health beyond the bones.  The level of 25(OH)D necessary to optimally sustain other physiological functions in the body have been shown to be anywhere between 40-60 ng/ml.  One example perfect for this group is breastfeeding.  In order for a mother to be able to provide the necessary amount of vitamin D to her baby (400 IU per day), she must maintain a 25(OH)D level of around 50 ng/ml.  I love how Dr. Robert Heaney states in his blog, "It must seem strange that on the one hand we stress that human milk is the best source of nourishment for our babies, and on the other seem to ignore the fact that human milk doesn’t contain the vitamin D those babies need. The explanation, very simply, is that the disconnect is artificial. Nursing mothers have so little vitamin D in their own bodies that there is little or none left over to put into their milk."

Don't you think this is a major problem, and an easy one to solve?!  So, what should you do about it?

First, sign the petition asking the IOM to re-evaluate the data they used to determine the RDA for Vitamin D... you can sign the petition here.

Are you a pregnant or breastfeeding mother?  Thinking about getting pregnant?  I cannot state enough how important it is to test yourself to see what your vitamin D levels are and if you have enough to sustain a healthy pregnancy and baby.  GrassrootsHealth offers home test kits as part of their study, and is full of information, videos, and downloads; one of my favorites is the FAQs for Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Babies.  Educate yourself on the importance of vitamin D, especially for this important time.  And, if you do find out that you are deficient, Dr. John Cannell has offered some steps you can take to get your levels up quickly and safely.

Have questions?  Let me know.  I'm always happy to talk about vitamin D : )