08:12pm Tuesday 28 January 2020

Vitamin D Research and Clinical Practice: At a Crossroads

Manson cautions against overscreening and overprescribing supplemental vitamin D and advises physicians to follow current US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations both in the interest of patients, and to advance knowledge to benefit future patients and inform future public health recommendations.  Additionally, she states her concern for the potential of this enthusiasm to jeopardize the ability of researchers to conduct randomized trials necessary to establish the long term consequences of taking vitamin D in “usual-risk” populations.  Manson and her colleagues at BWH are leading the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL), the largest randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation in the world (25,875 men and women). VITAL is testing the role of vitamin D supplementation in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Several other large trials of vitamin D are ongoing in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

The IOM has set the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D based on the amount required for skeletal health:  600 IU per day for persons aged 1 to 70 years and 800 IU per day for those 71 years and older.  The IOM’s report challenges the notion that a majority of US adults are vitamin D “deficient” and does not endorse universal screening for vitamin D concentrations (only targeted screening for those with risk factors). It remains unknown whether taking vitamin D at doses above the RDA will reduce the risk of chronic disease or will lower mortality rates.

Dr. JoAnn Manson is available to speak with media.  Please contact Elaine St. Peter, 617-525-6375; estpeter@partners.org, to set up an interview.

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