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Why is the NY Times hating on vitamin D (November 2010)?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 30, 2010 at 6:50 AM

See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/30vitamin.html

The very high levels of vitamin D that are often recommended by doctors and testing laboratories ??? and can be achieved only by taking supplements ??? are unnecessary and could be harmful, an expert committee says. It also concludes that calcium supplements are not needed.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 02, 2010
at 02:28 PM

Even if you are diabetic! The ADA still recommends 6-11 servings per day of "healthy whole grains" for diabetics! They are criminally negligent.

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on November 30, 2010
at 08:04 PM

As a sample of 1, I raised my very low levels of serum vit D to the normal range. My incidence of colds has decreased bigtime. Of course this is only correlative evidence but I imagine there's some connection here.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:19 PM

Agree that the nytimes health section is trash, but it doesn't have much to do with politics.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:17 PM

I agree with you

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on November 30, 2010
at 04:23 PM

I just came on to post this.

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on November 30, 2010
at 03:34 PM

Neither germaine nor fact... sounds like you have an axe to grind against both and this is really not the place, this is a vitamin D and calcium discussion and other than the study appearing in the NYT, the NYT is not part of the discussion.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 30, 2010
at 08:05 AM

Calcium consumed in food barely affects calcium in the body just like cholesterol in food doesn't affect blood cholesterol. Our bodies produce plenty of both.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 30, 2010
at 07:01 AM

Looks like the full report will be available at 10 Eastern on the 30th. Here, it seems: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Calcium-and-Vitamin-D.aspx The "report brief" is already available, you'll see the link down there.

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6 Answers

2
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on November 30, 2010
at 04:18 PM

this article on the NYT is the biggest peace of crap on vitamin D i have ever read. just one example: "20-30ng is plenty for optimal bone health". it's fucking NOT! max. bone density manifests between 34ng and 45ng. above 50ng it may even decrease again slightly, depending on individual chemistry. there also are a ton of other clearly false statements, which are too stupid to even bother. watch this video if you wanna know more about the real scientific facts about vitamin D deficiencies and dosages: "Whats a Vitamin D Deficiency?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emjCzaHtSrg

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:17 PM

I agree with you

2
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on November 30, 2010
at 03:53 PM

Regarding the nytimes health section: it's frankly just run by idiots who seek the counsel of doctor dinosaurs who have long been on record standing for everything that is wrong with mainstream nutrition advice (e.g., saturated fat, starch, alternative medicine, and organic food are all bad while polyunsaturated fat, fructose, mainstream medicine, and Monsanto are good). Part of this is results from the difference between intention to treat and intention to prevent (turns out that if your metabolism is already totally FUBAR, from years of mainstream nutrition, there may be some advantages to PUFAs and fructose... an unfortunate quirk of biology that has resulted in a colossal medical blunder that has caused millions of premature deaths). If you're not a diabetic (or almost diabetic) ignore anything most doctors tell you about nutrition.

Ok, on to the more specific comments on the vit D/calcium study.

First, I wouldn't recommend calcium supplements.

Second, unless you have really, really good evidence, you just can't argue with a randomized placebo controlled trial finding that 1100IU of supplemental vitamin D (and calcium) prevented 77% of cancers, after excluding the first year (which is standard in cancer prevention trials). Here's the study from 2007 with the findings I described: http://www.ajcn.org/content/85/6/1586.full.

Especially giving the mountain of consistent epidemiological evidence, such a strong finding can only be refuted with another larger placebo controlled trial of superior design. They are conducting one now and we will have results in a few years.

That said, I think that some people take it too far, exceeding levels that are physiologically possible. Kurt Harris, for example, incorrectly states that people can obtain levels up 100-120 ng/ml from the sun when the number is more like 50 ng/ml. That's dangerous mis-reporting on his part and naive acceptance of fanciful claims on the part of his readers. (In fact, since he's a pretty smart guy, I'd guess he probably just made a units error and meant nmol/L).

Also, it's hard to gauge vit D supplementation in isolation. Vit K, vit A, calcium, and magnesium status all play a part, along with numerous other nutrients.

In the face of the uncertainty, this is as area where it really does make sense to let evolution/paleo theory be your guide. Maintaining levels at 40-50 ng/ml is quite natural, in the tropics. We can assume that vit K and vit A levels would also be somewhat high, since both originally derive from green and colored vegetables, respectively, and indirectly from the animals that eat them. Thus, in the northern summer or in the tropics, moderately high vit D levels would likely have gone hand in hand with decent intakes of vit K and vit A, as well as magnesium. I don't think calcium supplementation makes much sense in this context.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 02, 2010
at 02:28 PM

Even if you are diabetic! The ADA still recommends 6-11 servings per day of "healthy whole grains" for diabetics! They are criminally negligent.

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 30, 2010
at 03:10 PM

I'm copying this answer from another vitamin D thread...

The primary sources for adverse events are available for free here, see page 297:

http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/vitadcal/vitadcal.pdf

As a disclaimer, I worked on the team synthesizing evidence for this report. Thus I can't give a real opinion (not that I have a good one) other than providing a link to the report. That being said, recommendations for upper tolerable nutrient intake are for populations. You as an individual may be different. In addition, the evidence for benefits is limited, and the evidence for harms is much more scarce.

0
8287c6ddae0d78eae0a09fdd5999617c

(2581)

on November 30, 2010
at 08:32 AM

Vitamin D is critical in calcium balance. Osteoporosis might be caused more by Vitamin D deficiency, even if calcium intake is high. Calcium supplements probably aren't needed, but Vitamin D supplements are essential for people who don't get enough sunlight for whatever reason. Vitamin D is what prevents the calcium from being excreted in urine.

0
5d4356ca14d2f3bd3152f343695c8220

(131)

on November 30, 2010
at 07:39 AM

"Most people, they concluded, get enough calcium from the foods they eat, about 1,000 milligrams a day for most adults (1,200 for women ages 51 to 70)."

Most people? What kind of science is that?

Also think about what foods are calcium rich: DAIRY. Well aren't "most people" lactose intolerant on some level?!?! And strict paleo followers are zero dairy!

I will continue to take my 1200mg of calcium supplements everyday.

I am interested in reading the full report.

1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

(1248)

on November 30, 2010
at 08:05 AM

Calcium consumed in food barely affects calcium in the body just like cholesterol in food doesn't affect blood cholesterol. Our bodies produce plenty of both.

-3
1cbb6b2a813475d6c0b17fd5e898dc50

on November 30, 2010
at 08:09 AM

New York Times is a democratic camp......they are corrupt as is our entire government. The information they drool out is no different than christianity....."believe this specific mantra or you will go to hell".

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:19 PM

Agree that the nytimes health section is trash, but it doesn't have much to do with politics.

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on November 30, 2010
at 03:34 PM

Neither germaine nor fact... sounds like you have an axe to grind against both and this is really not the place, this is a vitamin D and calcium discussion and other than the study appearing in the NYT, the NYT is not part of the discussion.

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