The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is backing efforts to encourage increased consumption of vitamin D through food and dietary supplements.
In a position statement on vitamin D, the academy recently stressed the importance of obtaining adequate levels of the vitamin without overexposure to cancer-causing UV radiation from sunlight or tanning machines.
The AAD commented that vitamin D is essential for optimal health, and medical literature supports safe ways to get it ? a healthy diet which incorporates foods naturally rich in vitamin D, vitamin D-fortified foods and beverages, and vitamin D supplements. According to medical literature, unprotected exposure to UV radiation from sunlight (natural) or indoor tanning devices (artificial) is not safe. Individuals who intentionally expose themselves to UV radiation for vitamin D are putting themselves at risk of developing skin cancer.
The AAD noted that the current intake recommendations may be revised upward due to evolving research on the increasing clinical benefits of vitamin D.
More recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a report stating that children should be consuming double the usually recommended levels of vitamin D ? 400 International Units (IUs) of the vitamin per day, compared to the 200 IUs previously recommended by AAP.
Experts have noted that about one billion people are estimated to be vitamin D deficient, even more so since very few foods are fortified with the vitamin.
In adults, vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteoporosis , muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases . There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type 1 diabetes .