Are we all Vitamin D deficient?
An Associated Press story today covered a new recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics for daily vitamin D doses for children. The group advises doubling the previous recommendation of 200 units daily to 400. The previous recommendation was set because that is the minimum amount of vitamin D needed to prevent rickets in children, which used to be a very common deformity caused by malnutrition. However, not much was known about other chemical mechanisms vitamin D participates in in the body. Recent research has shown that a deficiency in the vitamin may be linked to heart disease, some types of cancer, depression and a host of other maladies. I am especially interested in vitamin D because, as Minnesotans, it is possible that we are deficient for a significant portion of the year, when we don't get outside in the sun. However, I also guard against vitamin D as a panacea, as some professionals do. However, the prospect of a relatively simple supplement could affect something as intricate and debilitating as cancer or heart disease or depression is intriguing.