A COUNTER STRIKE
Not that long ago, the well respected journal, Science Ain’t So Bad, wrote an article about vitamin D (IF YOU ONLY TOOK ONE PILL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?) It was a fine article. Thoughtful, carefully researched, and well balanced. It weighed the available information which boiled down to it’s being a pretty good idea for most people to take some vitamin D. Especially if they don’t get much sun. SASB’s article quoted Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health who felt that 1000 IU might be a decent dose.
Today’s paper had a new report from a panel of the Institute of Medicine which dismissed all that unscientific crapola about how D’s good fer this ‘n good fer that. Let’s stay focused, the panel said, on what we really know. Most people do get enough of the stuff for their bones. Let’s not get crazy, said the panel.
What you’re watching is the Ballet de Science. In Act I you saw the advocates on stage. They were all excited about the results of numerous studies, many of them preliminary, that seemed to show a) that many people are kinda deficient in the “sunshine” vitamin and b) vitamin D offers protection against lots of bad stuff.
Now we’re watching Act II. In this act, some fancy panel reviews all the data, gets huffy about the some of the more outlandish claims, and sounds alarmed about the ever increasing minimum requirements which were up to 5000 IU according to some authorities.
Here’s the thing. Some elements in the “scientific community” are conservative, others are bold. The pendulum swings.
Was all that stuff about stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, depression, pain, and – was it acne? – nonsense? Probably not. But, as the public got more interested in vitamin D, so did food producers. It’s showing up in a lot of the things we’re eating. If you’re getting it in your cereal AND swallowing pills, it really could be too much. And, while there’s no great evidence that high doses of D are bad, there are hints. Besides, there IS such a thing as too much of anything. Yer not gonna take a WHOLE bottle of aspirin for a headache, are you?
MISTER ScienceAintSoBad‘s not sure either, but the suggested guidelines from the panel aren’t all that far from what readers of this blog have believed were reasonable anyway (showing how smart you are to stay tuned to this channel). Maybe a little common sense and moderation works here as it does in most things. If you’re a senior citizen or live up north (or live down south but work nights or are a vampire – let’s not forget vampires) take some D but don’t be a nut case. A few hundred IUs are probably enough in most cases. Just be reasonable. OK?
Attribution for above image (as modified by Science Ain’t So Bad) : By U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons