CalciumVitamin D

Vitamin D and the risk of dying

Ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seem to be associated with lower mortality rates.

First, the details.

  • Two researchers form France and Italy re-analyzed (meta-analysis) the results from 18 studies of more than 57,000 people.

Here’s what they found.

  • There were 4,777 deaths from any cause over about 6 years.
  • Intake of “ordinary” doses of vitamin D supplements was associated with decreased total mortality rates.
  • Daily doses of vitamin D supplements varied from 300 to 2000 IU.
  • Taking calcium didn’t change the results.

The bottom line?
The first thing I did was read the label on my Centrum bottle, which contains 400 IU of vitamin D per tablet. So, if in fact there is a causal association between vitamin D and death by any cause, I’m at the low end.

In fact, the usual concentration of vitamin D in a multivitamin tablet is 400 IU per tablet — the recommended daily intake for adults between 51 and 70 years.

Centrum Advantage has 800 IUs per tablet. And I found a product called Animal Pak — yes, it’s for people — that has 680 IU per serving.

Last year, Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston put forward the position, “The dose of vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis should be no less than 700-800 IU per day.”

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements has more information on vitamin D here.

9/11/07 19:58 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.