Thanks to conflicting study results that tag-team health headlines, it's hard to know whether daily vitamins really enhance health and keep diseases at bay, or whether they're just an expensive excuse to pop more pills. At least when it comes to vitamin D, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has taken the guesswork out of it for you. The IOM gathered a group of nutrition experts and released the first recommended dietary allowance for the vitamin: adults are advised to consume 600 IU of vitamin D daily, along with 1,000 mg of calcium, in order to keep bones strong and protect against fractures.
Most people get the required amounts of the vitamins through natural sources like diet and sunlight, the expert panel found, and advised that taking daily supplements — particularly in the potentially harmful megadoses that some doctors recommend — is unnecessary.
Also, the panel said, people shouldn't expect vitamin D supplements to prevent the host of other conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes that recent studies have claimed. After reviewing the data on these associations, the IOM panel determined that the evidence isn't strong enough to recommend adequate levels of vitamin D for any other purpose than to protect bones.
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