Thursday, 4 August 2016

Take your vitamin D says the UK Government

"Vitamin D supplements 'advised for everyone'" was just one media headline following the publication of a report (see here) - "a government commissioned report" - by the advisory board of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) here in Blighty recently.

After oodles and oodles of peer-reviewed research (quite a bit of it covered in that SACN report) potentially linking issues with vitamin D availability to everything from depression (see here) to schizophrenia (see here) and lots of other things besides, the time appears now for "recommending an RNI [reference nutrient intake] for vitamin D of 10 µg/d (400 IU/d) throughout the year, for everyone in the general UK population aged 4y and above." Further: "Since it is difficult to achieve the RNI/Safe Intakes from natural food sources alone, SACN is also recommending that the Government considers strategies to help the UK population consume the recommended intakes of vitamin D."

I don't mind telling you that I was pretty happy to see this publication. Quite a few times on this blog I've talked about the potential importance of vitamin D (see here) and how the 'English disease' known as rickets might be but one manifestation of too little of the so-called sunshine vitamin/hormone. For the core blogging material of this site - autism - I'm also quite convinced that there are lots more reasons to research vitamin D (see here and see here) in that context.

I might quibble with the rather sweeping generalisation that is the reference nutrient intake being suggested by the SACN report but it is a good start to recognising the importance of vitamin D to lots of aspects of health and wellbeing [1]. If I do have one caution it is that science often has a way of turning really important 'must-do' advice into something else (see here for example) and so don't be surprised to see and hear more about the idea that 'one-size-fits-all' recommendations regarding vitamin D will rarely cover the entire population...


[1] Muscogiuri G. et al. Vitamin D and chronic diseases: the current state of the art. Arch Toxicol. 2016 Jul 18.

---------- Muscogiuri G, Altieri B, Annweiler C, Balercia G, Pal HB, Boucher BJ, Cannell JJ, Foresta C, Grübler MR, Kotsa K, Mascitelli L, März W, Orio F, Pilz S, Tirabassi G, & Colao A (2016). Vitamin D and chronic diseases: the current state of the art. Archives of toxicology PMID: 27425218