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Vitamin D status – a world view

01 Apr., 2015

It is by nature`s design that our body can produce Vitamin D. Presumably, we just need to – let the sun shine in – and our body will do the rest.
However, there is growing evidence that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent globally.

A recent report at The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology presents a systematic review of 103 reports published in PubMed/Medline over the last 10 years, all on the subject of vitamin D status worldwide. The results show that Vitamin D deficiency is a major public concern worldwide in all age groups. Surprisingly, deficiency is prevalent even in regions where sun exposure is significant all year round, such as the Middle East (1).

At risk of vitamin D deficiency are pregnant and breastfeeding women, teenagers and young women, children aged under five, older people aged 65 and over, those with low or no exposure to the sun and people with darker skin.

To address these deficiencies, national health authorities have started to take decisive action. Several health authorities have raised the daily RDA recommendation. For example, the American Food and Nutrition Board raised its vitamin D RDA recommendation for children from 200 to 600 IU/day. The Canadian Health Authority followed suit with a similar RDA update, and surprisingly, so did the Health Authority of sunny Israel (Sept. 2014).

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Late in 2014, the British National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) had published a comprehensive set of recommendations regarding Vitamin D. These recommendations, directed at the British department of Health, include:

  • A clear recommendation to develop national activities that increase awareness to the importance of sufficient levels of Vitamin D.
  • Recommendation to actively work with manufacturers to make Vitamin D supplements more available to high-risk groups (breast feeding women, young children, teenagers etc.)
  • Ensure health Professionals recommend vitamin D supplements to high-risk populations.
  • Monitor and evaluate the provision and uptake of vitamin D supplements.

These initiatives and other of similar nature indicate a consensus among health professional and health authorities across the globe that vitamin D deficiency is a serious matter that must be addressed on multiple levels. These include raising awareness with health professionals and the public alike, continued data gathering on high-risk populations, and ensuring the widespread availability of high quality vitamin D supplementation

(1) doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.11.003