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    Vitamin D advice must weigh benefits, risks

    Because exposure to ultraviolet light is one pathway for generating vitamin D, the question arises whether a recommendation for vitamin D supplementation should accompany advice about sun avoidance.

    READ: Daily dose of vitamin D combats seasonal atopic dermatitis

    Guidance for counseling patients on this issue may follow the concept of “everything in moderation”, Martin A. Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D., told colleagues recently at the 74th Annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Washington D.C.

    “There has been a lot of publicity in the lay press about the harms associated with not getting enough vitamin D, but there are also risks of getting too much,” says Dr. Weinstock, professor, department of dermatology, Brown University, Providence, R.I.

    Adequate levels of vitamin D are important for maintaining musculoskeletal health. There have also been studies linking low levels of vitamin D to a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, and infection, although that work is controversial and does not necessarily imply a causal relationship for vitamin D.

    INTERESTING: Research links vitamin D, skin diseases

    On the other hand, it is well-documented based on outcomes of randomized controlled trials that ingestion of mega doses of vitamin D may adversely affect musculoskeletal health and the kidneys. Some data also suggest excessive vitamin D supplementation increases risks of overall mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, although the evidence on those associations is not definitive, Dr. Weinstock says.

    NEXT: Specific advice

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    • Interesting Discussion. However, I'm convinced you are being far too conservative. I live in the Eastern, sunny part, of Washington State. If it were not for irrigation, this area would all be desert. And, many of those living here work out-of-doors in the fields and on farms. Yet, of all the Vitamin D levels that I have drawn in the last 10 months; only one has been in the normal range. All of the rest have been low or "exceedingly low". This includes older children too. (Yet they spend the majority of their time during the day playing outside). I'm convinced that one should be taking oral Vitamin D. For, it is needed for healing (it directly influences the innate immune system) and it's also needed for adequate bone metabolism; plus other metabolic needs. Also, I find the majority taking oral Vitamin D are not taking it properly. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and must be taken with some form of fat. For, taking it with water only, as most do, does not allow for absorption. I do agree though that "mega" does of Vitamin D is hazardous. But, taking >1,000 IU daily with a fatty meal would be best for all older children and adults.

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