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HealthWatch: Vitamin D And Calcium

CBS New York—November 30, 2010

For the past several years, Vitamin D has been the “it” vitamin, with studies suggesting large doses could not only boost bone health, but may also prevent cancer, diabetes and other conditions. However, long-awaited new guidelines show mega doses of the vitamin may not help.

When 15-year-old Sam Cox broke his foot nine months ago playing basketball, he got another diagnosis he didn’t expect. “She said I’d have to stay off my foot for awhile, and she told me I was a little Vitamin D-deficient,” he said.

For years, there have been concerns that Americans weren’t getting enough Vitamin D, and now a new report from the Institute of Medicine finds the average person is actually getting the right dose.

The Institute of Medicine said the average person needs no more than 600 international units of Vitamin D a day. That’s about six glasses of milk.

And while slightly higher than current recommendations, it’s far below the mega doses some doctors recommend.

Turns out most of us are getting enough Vitamin D through diet and the sun.  Sunlight turns cholesterol into Vitamin D and triggers the natural production of Vitamin D in the skin.

Calcium and Vitamin D work together to build strong bones.

The report finds adolescent girls are on group that may not be getting enough and older women may be taking too much, putting them at risk for kidney stones.

Experts say mega doses of Vitamin D or calcium can be harmful and could even increase your risk of certain cancers or heart disease.

“It should heighten your awareness, not to take too much or too little of anything, be mindful of your diet, to take a second look at your diet, to make sure you’re supplementing,” said Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Shevaun Doyle of Hospital for Special  Surgery.

Sam is now keeping his Vitamin D levels in check. “I’m always cautious of what I do and what I eat so I can have a buildup of  Vitamin D,” he said.

He doesn’t want to have to sit on the sidelines again.


Watch the full story at cbslocal.com.


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