VDC news

Dr. Hollis resigns from Vitamin D Council's Board

03 May 2011

Professor Hollis is the scientist who provided the best reason to keep your vitamin D level around 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L)

For those who do not know, Professor Hollis is the scientist who provided the best reason to keep your vitamin D level around 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L). Some scientists say 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) is good enough because parathyroid hormone (PTH) is pretty much suppressed with levels of 20, other scientists say levels should be 30 because calcium absorption is maximized with that level. That is, PTH suppression and calcium absorption are biomarkers for adequate vitamin D blood levels.

Professor Hollis provided another biomarker, one every woman - and most men - can immediately accept as the best biomarker yet: how much vitamin D does a woman need to be sure that her breast milk has adequate vitamin D? When you think about it, that's about as good as biomarkers get.

Professor Hollis answered that question in his research, finding that when a lactating woman has vitamin D blood levels of 40-50 ng/ml (100-125 nmol/L), her breast milk finally has enough vitamin D to support the vitamin D levels of her nursing infant. At levels below 40, the vitamin D content of breast milk becomes unpredictable. I'd say Bruce's discovery is more important than PTH or calcium absorption. I also say the women (and men) on the recent vitamin D FNB panel should be ashamed of themselves for apparently not knowing this.

I always wondered how that could be, after first learning in medical school that human breast milk - unlike the breast milk of wild mammals - has little or no vitamin D. How could Nature's perfect food be void of the pre-hormone needed for infant growth and development? Bruce answered the question, breast milk is not devoid of it, it is just that virtually all modern lactating women are.

Thanks Bruce, you will be missed.

John Cannell, MD
Executive Director
Vitamin D Council

Page last edited: 14 February 2012