Expert calls for less vitamin d testing and more sunlight supplements

The inaugural BioCeuticals Research Symposium was held in Sydney on May 10 and 11, and proved to be a remarkable gathering of international and Australian researchers, all of whom achieved the Symposium's primary goal of bringing complementary medicine research into the day-to-day work of practitioners. Professor Michael Holick is well known to almost anyone in the area of vitamin D research and the applications of that research. His presentations are high powered and compelling, with imagery that is unforgettable. Professor Holick stepped right into the issue of testing of vitamin D levels with the provocative position that testing was unnecessary and in most cases a waste of money and time. It was a view oddly aligned with the recent position taken by the Royal Australian College of Pathologists (RACP) which proposed restriction of testing to subgroups at highest risk of deficiency, allowing the 20% or more of Australians with levels below the minimum end-of-winter level of 50 nmol/L to go undiagnosed, presumably to develop clinical illness and to perform testing on that basis when indicated. Professor Holick's position is that testing is not required because all Australians should be increasing sunlight exposure and taking supplemental vitamin D at doses of 1,500 to 2,000 IU per day for adults to ensure adequacy. He showed compelling evidence of the safety of vitamin D at doses of 4,000 IU per day in unselected populations.

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