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June 22 2011

Vitamin D and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and DiabetesWhy the Evidence Falls Short

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Nutritional Sciences, Obesity Group, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (Dr Shapses); and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Manson).

JAMA. 2011;305(24):2565-2566. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.881

Vitamin D has received widespread attention for its potential role in preventing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Several epidemiological studies have suggested that individuals with low blood levels of vitamin D have increased risks of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes. Yet the evidence that vitamin D prevents cardiometabolic outcomes played an inconsequential role in determining the population needs for vitamin D in the 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).1 How is it possible that such a large body of evidence had so little influence on the recommended intakes for vitamin D? This commentary, authored by 2 members of the IOM Committee, provides a critical appraisal of the relevant evidence, explains why the research was found to be insufficient by the IOM, and identifies future research needs on this topic.

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