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Increased Vitamin D Consumption Encouraged by the AAD

Posted: December 10, 2008

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is backing efforts to encourage increased consumption of vitamin D through food and dietary supplements.

In a recent position statement on vitamin D, the academy stressed the importance of obtaining adequate levels of the vitamin without overexposure to cancer-causing UV radiation from sunlight or tanning machines. "Vitamin D is essential for optimal health, and the medical literature supports safe ways to get it—a healthy diet which incorporates foods naturally rich in vitamin D, vitamin D-fortified foods and beverages, and vitamin D supplements," said dermatologist C. William Hanke, MD, president of AAD. “And, according to the medical literature, unprotected exposure to UV radiation from sunlight (natural) or indoor tanning devices (artificial) is not safe. Individuals who intentionally expose themselves to UV radiation for vitamin D are putting their health at risk for developing skin cancer." The AAD said it supports the recommended daily intake levels provided in guidelines from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and is urging physicians to do the same.

Increased intake

Currently, IOM recommends that children and adults up to age 50 should consume 200 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day, equivalent to 5 micrograms. Adults aged between 51 and 70 should have an intake of 400 IUs (10 micrograms), and adults aged 71 and over should consume 600 IUs (15 micrograms).

The AAD noted, however, that these recommendations may be revised upward due to evolving research on the increasing clinical benefits of vitamin D. Indeed, IOM told last week that it has started a review of all science on vitamin D, with a view to updating recommended intake levels.