Low Vitamin D Has a Role in Heart Risk
Study Shows Low Levels of Vitamin D May Explain Racial Gap in Cardiovascular Risk
WebMD News Archive
Vitamin D: How Much Do You Need? continued...
Fiscella says it is too soon to recommend taking vitamin D supplements to
improve heart health.
"We really don't know what the optimal levels are at this point, or if there
is a downside to taking double or triple the recommended amount," he says.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that adults under 50 get 400
to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day and that older adults get
800 to 1,000 IU.
Current federal nutrition guidelines consider 200 IU of vitamin D daily
adequate for children and adults up to age 50 and 400-600 IU daily adequate for
But a government advisory panel is reviewing this recommendation and is
expected to revise it later this year.
James H. O'Keefe, MD, who directs the preventive cardiology program at the
Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., considers the current
recommendations far too low.
"Three out of four Americans are not getting enough vitamin D," he tells
WebMD. "In my opinion, 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU a day is probably safe for anyone
to take. That may be enough for some people but not for others."
He says African-Americans and other dark-skinned people may need even more
vitamin D to avoid deficiency.
Milk and other dairy products are good dietary sources of vitamin D, as are
oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. But it would be difficult, if not
impossible, to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone, O'Keefe says.