Vitamin D Research Update

Vitamin D


If you asked a health professional about the role of vitamin D a decade ago, they would have answered that it helps the body absorb calcium to keep bones strong. But in the intervening years, a wealth of research has revealed that vitamin D has other important duties, and even more potential health benefits. For example, we now know that vitamin D is involved in immune system function, and that it may help dampen inflammation. Low blood levels of this hormone-like vitamin have been linked to certain autoimmune diseases and even eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.

Recognising that we become less able  to absorb or make vitamin D as we grow older, and that many people avoid vitamin D-producing sunlight or use sunscreens for skin protection, the Institute of Medicine raised the recommended allowance of vitamin D in November 2010 to 600 IU daily for children and adults, and 800 IU per day for those 70 and older. Taking higher levels – 1,000 IU – have also been shown to have additional benefits beyond just bone health(1).

To meet the new recommendations, supplements of vitamin D may well be needed by most individuals. The first study to examine food-based intakes of the sunshine vitamin in adults, recently reports that vitamin D intake from foods has dropped 15% from the early 1980s(2). Looking at data collected regularly from the Minnesota Heart Survey, the researchers also noted that milk, which is fortified with vitamin D and a key source of this nutrient, also declined over the nearly 20 year period. The researchers called the lower vitamin D dietary intake a “concerning trend”, given that  close to one-third of the US population has blood values that put them at risk for inadequacy or deficiency. In fact, as many as a billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D(3).

GNLD’s Vitamin A & D* and Formula IV, Formula IV Plus and the Multi all contain Vitamin D in order to assist you to meet your daily vitamin D requirements!*Pregnant women should ensure that they do not consume more than the RDA for vitamin A (770mcg)
FACTOID: Take Vitamin D with Food
It’s not uncommon for someone being treated for vitamin D deficiency to fall short of reaching blood level goals. A small but striking study suggests that one reason might be that people are taking vitamin D supplements on an empty stomach, or with meals that are too small to contain enough fat to enhance this vitamin’s absorption. Within two to three months after being asked to take the supplement with dinner or the largest meal of the day, vitamin D blood levels rose by an average 57% in participants. The researchers concluded that it may e wise to take vitamin D with larger meals which are likely to provide adequate fat levels(4).


1. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and Calcium. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2011.

2, Harnack LJ et al. Trends in vitamin D intake from food sources among adults in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, Metropolitan Area, 1980-1982 through 2007-2009. J Am Diet Assoc 111:1329-34, 2011

3. Fryhofer, SA. Vitamin D deciphered, declassified and defined for your patients. Internal Medicine, March 22, 2010.

4. Mulligan GB et al. Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Bone Min Res 25:928-30, 2010.



Filed under Health & Wellness

3 responses to “Vitamin D Research Update

  1. Low vitamin D is also linked with breast cancer. My level was very low when I was diagnosed.
    The literature is a bit behind and (I believe) you will see the RDA for vitamin D be elevated every few years as the studies become more solid.
    I take 4000/day (I have my vitamin D blood levels monitored)

    Thanks for the factoid! Good advice!


  2. Pingback: 5 Good Reasons to Take Supplements | Mr.FuzzyBear

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