We Are Sunshine

American Medical Association now urges doctors to check vitamin D levels in their patients

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

JUNE 30, 2009 — The largest doctors’ group in North America is getting on the vitamin D wagon, urging members to be aware of patients who should have their vitamin D blood levels checked, the American Medical Association published this week in its on-line newspaper,

AMA had been considering the vitamin D issue since directing a committee to explore this issue last year.

2009-06-30-d-message-tanningnews-copy.jpg“Physicians should consider assessing 25-hydroxyvitamin D in patients most likely to have low levels of the hormone. These patients should then be counseled about ways to improve their vitamin D status, according to a Council on Science and Public Health report adopted at the AMA’s Annual Meeting,” reported. “The action was taken because a growing body of literature indicates that intake of vitamin D, which is primarily obtained from being exposed to the sun and drinking fortified milk, has gone down. Recommendations for how much is needed to be healthy also may be too low. Studies have connected vitamin D depletion to bone problems, some cancers, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and several autoimmune conditions.”

Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, the member of the council who presented the report during the meeting, told AMedNews: “We need to get the word out to doctors to measure vitamin D levels in patients who might be deficient.”

Dr. Vineeth Mohan, representing the Endocrine Society in the AMA House of Delegates, said, “The importance of vitamin D has certainly expanded beyond endocrinologists’ interest in bone health.”

While doctors realized they had better get on the vitamin D bandwagon, they are still looking for further research to solidify what they acknowledge is compelling associations between vitamin D and better health outcomes.

“Vitamin D is hot, and not just because it’s a sunshine vitamin. … The [associated] research is promising, but we still need clinical trials” Dr. Fryhofer told AMedNews.

One such clinical trial has already been conducted by Creighton University researchers, who showed that women with higher vitamin D levels were significantly less likely to contract cancer.

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