New Vitamin D Recommendations from the Institute of Medicine Are Grossly Inadequate
By Michael Mooney
December 1, 2010

On November 30, 2010, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) released new recommendations for vitamin D that greatly lag the progress seen in current research.

The IOM established new Daily Recommended Intakes for vitamin D, resulting in an all-too conservative increase in the recommended intakes by establishing an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for adults of 400 IU/day and a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults of 600 IU/day (800 IU/day for those aged 71+).

In addition, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), representing the dose at which there are no known adverse effects, not a recommended daily suggestion - was doubled from 2,000 to 4,000 IU/day for adults.

I'm sorry, folks, but this is hardly progress. The recommendations give us barely adequate nutrition, according to highly regarded vitamin D research scientists.

First, Robert P. Heaney, MD, a professor of medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who is the one of the world's most credible long-time calcium researchers, while also having published over 100 vitamin D studies, dismissed it.

Dr. Heaney said of the new guidelines: “They are way too conservative. There is evidence to support higher numbers.”

Dr. Heaney was on the panel when the panel last issued recommendations, in 1997.

However, oddly, he was not included on the panel this time. The panel asked for his suggestions that were based on the most up-to-date published data on vitamin D, but did not use them.

Dr. Heaney is not known for making provocative statements, but he said: "...The principal casualty of this is the credibility of the IOM - there were no day-to-day vitamin D scientists on the panel, and the working vitamin D community says they're off base."

One point he made is that there were no REAL vitamin D scientists on the panel who made these recommendations.

Further, while the IOM has been the voice of conservative credible government medical research in the past, Heaney said that the "...principle casualty of this is the credibility of the IOM."

Why? Well, the recommendations given were not credible.

If you put Dr. Heaney or any of the other dozens of other expert vitamin D researchers on the panel, the recommendations would have been much higher.

For instance, the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level (LOAEL) for vitamin D is currently 3,800 IU. The experts note that this number is based on one poorly-designed study and that numerous more recent studies have shown safety using higher doses, such that the UL, should be raised to 10,000 IU/day.

RDA’s would have been raised to 1,000 IU for adults, at a minimum, according to the statements of these expert research scientists. (Drs. Vieth, Hollick, Hollis, Cannell, etc.)

However, some of them would raise vitamin D recommendations much higher. For instance, for pregnant women, the Thrasher study recently showed that 4,000 IU of vitamin D decreased the rate of premature delivery by half, but mothers’ blood levels STILL did not measure optimally, so the recommendation might even be higher, like 6,000 IU, as is said by Hollis below.

Also rarely heard are provocative words from vitamin D researcher Dr. Bruce Hollis, who has published over 200 vitamin D studies.

“Basically, what is going to happen here is nothing," said a disgusted-sounding Bruce W. Hollis, professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Hollis, who gave expert testimony to the committee that they didn't use.

Dr. Hollis has found significant benefits to infants whose breast-feeding mothers take 6,000 IU of Vitamin D daily - 10 times the new guideline.

Although the new recommendations of 600 IU per day for most children and adults are triple the old guideline, Hollis and other experts said that was too small to matter.

Some voices have noted that Big Pharma infiltrated the Institute of Medicine - kept the most accomplished, honest researchers off the panel and created false recommendations that will serve those corporations who make money on people having cancer, multiple sclerosis and other such problems that optimum levels of vitamin D can reduce.

It’s simply more of the same bad advice where big business manipulates whatever it must to foster the ignorance of the public, so that people stay in poor health and must spend money on their services.

Update, December 20, 2010: It has been revealed that Drs. Heaney and Hollis and 12 other vitamin D research scientists were consulted for their recommendations, but the IOM panel did not use their recommendations.

One of the health freedom organizations, Alliance for Natural Health is doing a Freedom of Information Act request to dig into this.

As I said, it appears that big pharma has infiltrated the IOM, and sure enough there is, likely, a hidden agenda afoot.

Two of the authors of the IOM report are co-inventors of several vitamin D drugs that are in development. You might ask what conditions they will treat.

You’ve got it right if you guessed vitamin D deficiencies and diseases that optimum vitamin D can reduce, such as cancer.

One of the pharmaceutical companies is developing a patentable man-made vitamin D analog, a synthetic drug version of vitamin D.

Glenville Jones, PhD, one of the committee members who determined the new vitamin D guidelines is quoted as saying that under these guidelines, most people “probably don’t have vitamin D deficiency” and “We think there has been an exaggeration of the public’s interest in vitamin D deficiency.” Dr. Jones is an advisor to that same pharmaceutical company.

Michael Mooney