Vitamin D Deficiency Affects Only 6% of US and Supplements Unnecessary, Study Says

Vitamin D Deficiency Affects Only 6% of US and Supplements Unnecessary, Study Says
Misinterpretations of blood tests for vitamin D often lead patients to wrongfully think they have vitamin D deficiency, leading them to take vitamin supplements unnecessarily, according to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The perspective article, "Vitamin D Deficiency — Is There Really a Pandemic?," shows that, contrary to what some think, vitamin D deficiency is far from pandemic, with only six 6 percent of Americans ages 1 to 70 deficient for the vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with skeletal deformities, but recent research is underscoring the importance of vitamin D in other health conditions, from cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment to cancer, including prostate cancer. In fact, some studies suggest that vitamin D can regulate the immune system to prevent prostate cancer initiation and progression. Too much vitamin D, however, can also cause health problems. High levels of vitamin D increase the concentration of calcium in the blood, causing such conditions as nausea, constipation, abnormal heart rhythms, and kidney stones. Researchers at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in the U.S. set a recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, that established the daily requirements of vitamin D. By comparing vitamin D intake and blood levels with bone health, they estimated that infants up to 12 months need about 400 international units of vitamin D per day, those
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