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Doctors say new vitamin D recommendations needed

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Increased awareness of the potential skin problems caused by exposure to the sun has led to a decline in skin cancer, but a growing number of doctors are saying that avoiding the sun has led many of their patients to develop vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body when it is exposed to sun, and studies have shown it to have a broad range of health benefits, including decreasing the risk of heart disease and some cancers, as well as better control of asthma symptoms.

But doctors say current governmental recommendations came out prior to all this research, and don't take into consideration all the benefits of maintaining proper levels of the vitamin.

Dr. Michael Holick, of Boston University Medical Center, told the San Francisco Chronicle that current recommendations are between 200 and 600 international units of the vitamin each day, but that "it should be 10 times that."

American Medical Association studies show that as much as 77 percent of the population may have low levels of vitamin D.

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