Is the Institute of Medicine report on calcium and vitamin D good science?
This editorial reveals that recommended vitamin D intakes and target blood levels were set too low in the November 30, 2010, Institute of Medicine (IOM) report of the National Academies “Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D”.
The author found that the criteria stipulated by the Federal sponsoring agencies for the IOM committee’s selection of studies to review in formulating their new recommendations were inadequate. They included randomized controlled trials and prospective observational studies but not ecological studies, case-control studies with vitamin D status at diagnosis or studies considering exposure to the main source of vitamin D in humans, sunlight.
The IOM’s report states that the only health benefit of vitamin D is for bone health. It recommends that those aged 1–70 years take 600 IU of vitamin D each day (800 IU for those over 71. This paper however argues that there are many non-bone-related health benefits associated with a higher intake (or a higher production) of vitamin D, such as reduced risks of contracting—or dying from—colon, prostate and breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2, neurological disorders, several bacterial and viral infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Over 30 vitamin D experts and 9 organizations agree with this position and believe that vitamin D has many more health benefits than just for bones, and that recommended daily reference intake levels will continue to rise.