A growing body of evidence is giving credence to the idea that a large number of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, and that a deficiency of Vitamin D has been associated with a number of diseases-from poor diabetes control to cancer and heart disease. Especially for minorities living in inner cities, there has been concern about the lack of sunlight and subsequent low vitamin D levels and the deleterious effects of Vitamin D deficiency on childhood development.
Now a new study has discovered that white people who are deficient in Vitamin D have twice the risk of stroke when compared to whites who are not Vitamin D deficient. Surprisingly, this association was not found in blacks. This is disappointing as blacks have a higher incidence of stroke than whites, due to many possible environmental and genetic factors, and blacks also have lower Vitamin D levels on average.
One big question is whether giving vitamin D to adults and children will help to prevent disease, future studies hope to answer this question. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is bound to increase, this year the international osteoporosis foundation recommended that the average adult take 800 to 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day to boost the level of active Vitamin D in the body, and that people who are obese, or don’t get a lot of sunlight, or are institutionalized may need perhaps up to 2,000 IU a day.
Many commentators have complained that the current recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D is too low. In 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics increased the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D to 400 IU for infants who are partially, or fully breastfed, and 400 as well for infants who drink less than 1 Liter of formula a day. In addition, young children and teenagers who do not get enough Vitamin D through diet are recommended to take 400 IU of Vitamin D a day.
One major body which helps set the daily recommended Vitamin D intake in the United States, the Institute of Medicine, will release their updated guidelines in a report, “Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D” on November 30, 2010.