An epidemic of vitamin D prescription began in 2007 after a paper by Michael
Holick appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. He asserted that vitamin
D blood levels of 21 to 29 nanograms per milliliter were in a range insufficient to
promote good health. Holick claimed that vitamin D deficiency was linked to a
wide variety of illnesses, including an increased risk of cancer, autoimmune disease,
diabetes, schizophrenia, depression, low lung capacity, and wheezing. Notably,
Holick has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from industries that profit
from vitamin D sales. His report and a number of other studies started a flurry of
what has turned out to be a mostly unnecessary billion-dollar vitamin D testing and
treatment juggernaut that persists.

Because of the presumed widespread deficiency, the U.S. Institute of Medicine
(IOM) was asked to evaluate the evidence linking vitamin D and health. The IOM
released their review in 2010 and noted: “… physicians have been ordering blood
tests that seem to suggest, based on the use of criteria that have yet to be validated,
that many in our North American population are vitamin D deficient.” If less
than 30 nanograms per milliliter of vitamin D is the standard for deficiency, then
80% of Americans would be diagnosed as vitamin D deficient. However, according
to the IOM, a vitamin D level of 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood is adequate.

The IOM reported, “…surveys show that average blood levels of vitamin D are
above the 20 nanograms per milliliter that the IOM committee found to be the level
that is needed for good bone health for practically all individuals. … a majority of
the population is meeting its needs for vitamin D.” The Committee concluded that
the prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy in North America had been overestimated.
The IOM report went on to say, “… some subgroups—particularly those who are
older and living in institutions or who have dark skin pigmentation—may be at increased
risk for getting too little vitamin D and may need 800 IU per day.”

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel