TanningVitamin D

Biggest winner in CAM for 2008

Vitamin D, of course.

A PubMed search revealed 146 studies in humans during 2008 for a dizzying list of conditions.

To start, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston have published a detailed review.

Highlights from 2008
ADA recomendation

  • The AAD is opposed to “unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.”
  • And that includes sunlight and tanning parlors.
  • According to AAD, the best sources of vitamin D come “from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods/beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or vitamin D supplements.”

Recommendations in pediatrics

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the recommended daily vitamin D intake from 200 IU to 400 IU for infants, children, and adolescents.

Vitamin D deficiency and exposure to the sun

  • Regardless of one’s complexion or the extent of UV exposure, daily vitamin D supplementation taken by mouth can compensate for the lack of vitamin D production in the skin.

Breast cancer

  • Calcium and vitamin D supplementation did not reduce invasive breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women.
  • In addition, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were not associated with subsequent breast cancer risk.

Prostate cancer

  • Research does not support the hypothesis that vitamin D is associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer.

The elderly

  • Taking calcium and vitamin D might protect bones, but it doesn’t guarantee that older women will become more active.

Type 1 diabetes

  • Vitamin D treatment during infancy might protect from the development of type 1 diabetes,

Age-related macular degeneration

  • Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) might protect against AMD.


  • Vitamin D failed to stop geriatric hospital patients from falling.

The bottom line?
Despite the studies and reviews listed above, admittedly I chose not to summarize most of the vitamin D studies that appeared in my searches. Just too many and too difficult to identify those that might be clinically significant.

Here’s a summary of studies that seemed most relevant to daily living.

Also, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published a supplement from a conference titled “Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century: An Update.” Abstracts from 20 articles based on this meeting can be found here.

12/27/08 19:15 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 www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.