Headlines can be misleading — and recent news about how much Vitamin D we all need is a perfect case in point.
Here’s one headline from the Wall Street Journal: “Triple That Vitamin D Intake, Panel Prescribes.” And another from the New York Times: “Extra Calcium and Vitamin D Aren’t Necessary, Report Says.” While these are just a couple of headlines that may confuse readers, which would you trust?
First, one easy takeaway is that we should be reading our news carefully so that we don’t carry incorrect information from headlines alone. Less easy to sort through is who actually needs more Vitamin D. Now, conventional wisdom has been telling us that low levels of Vitamin D can be linked to depression, various kinds of cancer, diabetes and stroke. And, over the past nine years, supplement sales have risen from $40 billion to $425 billion. Yet — despite the difference in headlines — recent news reports are actually claiming that, across the board, North Americans are getting enough of the vitamin as is from their blood (through the natural process of absorbing direct Vitamin D from sunlight).
For some of us however, it’s crucial that we get more than others. In particular: 1) people over 50 should be increasing their daily intake to support bone strength; 2) people with dark skin contain more melanin, which reduces the skin’s ability to produce the vitamin from sunlight; and 3) people who are obese need extra Vitamin D to make up for the relatively low levels in their blood.
Find out if you’re someone who needs more Vitamin D from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.