Earlier this week the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released it’s new dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D and calcium with regards to bone health. Specifically, the daily allowance for vitamin D was tripled from 200 IU to 600 IU and doubled the safe upper limit from 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU. However, many public health organizations including the Canadian Cancer and Pediatrics Societies and Osteoporosis Canada recommend doses higher than 600 IU per day. What is the discerning public supposed to think?
Well, first off, it’s important to keep in mind that the IOM is a very large, prestigious (read: bureaucratic) public health organization that appoints a panel of scientists to review the current literature and decide on DRIs based on what is deemed safe for the general population. The key word is general and safe means least likely to do harm, not most likely to prevent disease. See the distinction?
Now, how many of us are part of the general healthy population with no diabetes, heart disease, cancer, thyroid problems, kidney disease, arthritis, depression, IBS, multiple sclerosis, etc. etc. in our health history? That’s where the disease-specific public health groups come in. There’s a place for intakes of vitamin D that are higher than the IOM’s cutoffs but that’s to determined by the individual and their health practitioner after a thorough biochemical and physical examination.
If you’re wondering how much vitamin D you should be taking, consider whether you have any of the above conditions and get an individualized recommendation from an orthomolecular health practitioner aka a registered nutrition consultant. As with all vitamins, extra vitamin may do you good, or it may do nothing, or it may do you harm. General recommendations don’t account for biochemical individuality. That’s all you have to remember when reading about the latest greatest nutrient.