Vitamin D Guidelines Considered Controversial
October 26, 2012

New Guidelines Change Number Of Americans That Would Require Vitamin D Supplements

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

A new study published in the journal PLoS ONE shows that about 80 million Americans would no longer need to take vitamin D supplements under new Institute of Medicine guidelines.

The guidelines advise that almost all people get sufficient vitamin D when their blood levels are at or above 20 nano grams per millimeter (ng/ml), compared to older guidelines which needed 30.

A team of researchers examined data from 15,099 non-institutionalized adults who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). The sample included 1,097 adults who had chronic kidney disease, which has been linked to low levels of vitamin D.

They found that 70 percent of adults with healthy kidneys had vitamin D blood levels that would be considered insufficient under the older guidelines. However, with the new standard of rules, only 30 percent of these adults had insufficient levels.

About 76 percent of the adults with chronic kidney disease had insufficient vitamin D levels according to the old standard, while only 35 percent had insufficient levels under the new guidelines.

The team estimated that 78.7 million adults considered to have insufficient vitamin D levels under the older guidelines would now have sufficient levels under the Institute of Medicine guidelines.

The Institute of Medicine guidelines are controversial, with some groups like The Endocrine Society still endorsing the older guidelines.

Holly Kramer, lead researcher of the study, said that people who are confused about how much vitamin D they need to take should ask their doctors.

Researchers were able to extrapolate results to the general population because the adults used in the survey were a representative sample.

Kramer is first author of the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health. She is an associate professor in Loyola's Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology and Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. Her co-authors are Durazo-Arvizu; Guichan Cao, MS; Amy Luke, PhD; David Shoham, PhD; and Richard Cooper, PhD of Loyola's Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology and Chris Sempos, PhD of the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.