Vitamin D's Vital Role Heads for the Spotlight

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 10:20 AM CDT
The Institute of Medicine meets next week to discuss raising the recommended intake of Vitamin D.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
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(Newser) – Vitamin D is "one hot topic" among nutritionists, the Los Angeles Times reports, and it's about to get hotter. More than 2,000 studies on the so-called sunshine vitamin have been published this year alone, exploring its role in everything from reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer and diabetes to boosting memory and weight control. Amid the research surge, an Institute of Medicine committee meets next week to discuss raising the recommended daily intake of the vitamin.

The meeting is expected to be split between those who say most people should be taking supplements and others who say more research is needed. A recent survey found that more than half of Americans have suboptimal levels of the vitamin under current standards. Health experts say that many people are not getting the necessary time in the sun the skin needs to produce the vitamin (about 5 minutes daily) or are blocking the process via sunscreen.