Volume 5, Issue 26
June 28, 2012

Why low-dose vitamin D
doesn’t work most of the time

Taking low dose vitamin D supplements under 400 units per day has no benefit. At least that’s what “an influential panel of experts” says. The panel presented their opinion on NPR radio’s blog site (referenced below).

According to one of the panel members, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California in San Francisco, “This is the first recommendation we have looking specifically at the prevention of fractures and the prevention of cancer.” So is this a helpful recommendation, or is it just another misguided attempt to convince us that vitamin supplements are useless?

The panel quoted the findings of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These findings stated that taking less than 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium every day doesn't reduce the risk for bone fractures among postmenopausal women. Now that sounds pretty conclusive. But don’t forget one important thing. These experts, just like all of conventional medicine, practice statistical medicine.

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Statistical medicine means that they interpret the data to imply that 100% of women will receive no benefit from taking vitamin D in this low dose. This is in spite of the fact that the data clearly showed that some women did have a measurable benefit. The idea behind statistical medicine is that if something doesn’t benefit a certain percentage of people (called a “statistically significant percentage”), it did not benefit any of them. But here is the amazing fact that researchers completely ignored in this approach — all people are not the same. Imagine that. The incredible genetic variation among humans makes this approach erroneous 100% of the time.

What they should have concluded is that the findings show that taking less than 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium every day doesn't reduce the risk for bone fractures for most postmenopausal women, but it does for some. That would have been an accurate interpretation of the data. And I would agree with that.

As I have reported many times before, maintaining strong bones as we get older is incredibly easy. And it doesn’t involve any need at all to take one of the dangerous bisphosphonate drugs like Fosamax, Actinel, Boniva, and the like.

All you need to do is to maintain a good diet and a regular exercise program, keep your hormones at youthful levels, and take enough vitamin D. In most cases 400 IU just won’t do the job. You need to maintain a blood level in excess of 50 ng/ml. In order to do that, most people need to take at least 5,000 units per day. I need to take 10,000 units per day. I have some patients who need to take 20,000 to get the job done. We are all different.

That’s why 400 IU doesn’t work for most women. It’s just not enough. You can order vitamin D in 5,000 IU tablets by following this link.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

Panel questions value of vitamin D supplements by Rob Stein. Shots-NPR’s Health Blog http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/12/154840966/panel-questions-benefits-of-vitamin-d-supplements

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