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Fraser Health implements D regimen divergent of IOM’s recommendations

Posted on: November 11, 2011   by  John Cannell, MD


Professor Richard Gallo is a dermatologist from the University of California, San Diego, who was a member of the recent Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). In July of 2011, he wrote a spirited defense of why the committee recommended that a 300-pound pregnant woman and an 80-pound elderly woman take the same amount of vitamin D (600 IU/day), as well as a number of other senseless recommendations. Let it be known, he has a juggernaut to stop.

Dr. Gallo’s real motivation of being on the committee becomes clear as you read his defense of the FNB committee’s action. As a dermatologist, more and more scientists are subjecting his specialty to increasing criticism as being responsible for the three epidemics among our children, autism, asthma, and autoimmune illness, which all exploded with the sun scare. Dr. Gallo was on the FNB committee to defend the dermatologists against the vitamin D deficiency juggernaut.

Gallo RL. Dispelling disinformation in the vitamin D controversy. Cutis. 2011 Jul;88(1):8-10. No abstract available.

To his credit, he tried as hard as he could. In the above paper, Dr. Gallo wrote,

“Common sense ruled the day; the recommended dietary intake was set in such a way that it supports dermatologists doing their best to educate patients to protect themselves from the sun.”

He also said,

“Blindly following disinformation promoted by overzealous advocates risks relegating vitamin D to the long list of failed wonder drug cures. Do not expect that simply providing supplements to everyone will be useful.”

Are people listening to Dr. Gallo? Not the owners and physicians from the Fraser nursing home chain in Canada, which recently placed all residents on 20,000 IU/week:

A first in Canada: Vitamin D standard now for all Fraser Health care home residents

Juggernaut it is. I recently wrote,

“As far as stopping the vitamin D juggernaut is concerned, the FNB report will not. Once you take 5,000 IU/d for several months, most people notice a difference in how they feel, how they think and how they move. Not only do they buy another bottle at the pharmacy, they buy a bottle for a friend.”

Cannell J. Era or error? Public Health Nutr. 2011 Apr;14(4):743. No abstract available.

11 Responses to Fraser Health implements D regimen divergent of IOM’s recommendations

  1. [email protected]

    Great post . Thanks to info @ vitamin D council.org. I have many friends and family taking Vitamin D with very good results.

  2. [email protected]

    Amazing how people defend their false beliefs. I suppose pride is a major factor. But I suspect behind most of it is the potential loss of business as people’s health improves. The truth is coming out thanks in part to Dr Cannell’s untiring efforts. The pregnant women and their babie’s low vit D is very shocking. What’s wrong with this picture? I’ve talked to some and one said she was told the blood test is not accurate because the blood volume has increased so much, but there is still plenty there. Can you believe such idiocy? Yet she believed it and thought I was a nut I think. And the mothers and fathers all say the prenatal (400 iu) is what they take and seem to resent any questioning of this approach. One was told to drink lots and lots of milk. Maybe for the vit D? What is wrong with a supplement? D is added to milk. They just can’t get it it seems. I’m thinking about creating a literature package to pass out to pregnant mothers, and possibly at the doctor’s office. But then again I live in Peoria, IL- at least 10yr behind.

  3. [email protected]

    I have just been informed that local doctors here in New Zealand are being encouraged to prescribe 20,000IU/week or 50,000IU/month of subsidised VitD3 to people in rest homes.

  4. Gary

    Its a pity such intelligent members of the scientific community cant see past defending their fragile egos, and there are a considereable number with “I am god” complex’s. They need to remind themselves that they should be in it for the benefit of the patients they serve not vain glory.

    • Brant Cebulla

      Gary, wow, well put, I think you are right on the money. I think the “I am God” complex plagues the field, perhaps even more so than money/corporations. I tend to think that doctors and researchers are interested in their egos first and foremost, then money, then patients. I am not using superlatives because I know there are some great doctors out there, some even members of the blog. Would love to hear their opinions. Professor Gallo could not be any more interested in stroking his own ego in the cited paper.

      I think in the United States, health care could benefit greatly in falling back to the old tradition of integrative medicine, where doctors are put on the same pedestal as their patients, and the doctors and patients work together, as a family, to figure out the needs of the patient.

  5. Mark Richards

    I think that the Vitamin D Council could have a field day digging into the backroom dealing and potential conflict of interests that most surely exist within pharma and pharma research. Focusing on Vitamin D alone would be sufficient work. Simply observing what has happened over the years suggests strongly that there’s shenanigans at every level.

    Therefore it would be most interesting to know what connections the FNB members who put out that nonsense have to, for example, research and development of enhanced Vitamin D pharmaceuticals. And it might also be something to show what the US federal regulatory apparatus is up to.

    No one should be on such an advisory committee who has an agenda. If there are others, please reveal them to the light of day (pun).

    • Brant Cebulla

      Mark, I think more than anything, the IOM took a conservative approach for the sake of being conservative. That’s somewhat understandable. Post-report, however, I think a lot of the members have kind of bought into their own hype and are greatly suffering from confirmation bias. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

  6. HermanT

    A close look at Brant Cebulla’s education and experience makes it crystal clear that he has no reliable basis for critiquing the medical profession. The diatribe above diminishes the great work that Dr. Cannell is doing. Any sentence from Mr. Cebulla that starts with “I think…” should be vigorously challenged.

    • Brant Cebulla

      @HermanT, thanks for the comment.

      Each comment-thread is a place for discussion, to hear various views and opinions from people with all sorts of backgrounds and experience. Please do challenge my comments as well as others’. Differing opinions and a willingness to share those opinions can lead to good discussion.


  7. Rita and Misty

    @Brant Cebulla, today you are my HERO (and there are few humans I find worthy of that description). 🙂

    But to be somewhat gentle to the medical profession, here are my thoughts:

    I would like to think that most individuals start out pursuing a medical degree with tons of compassion peppered with considerable chutzpah (chutzpah is needed to be a successful doctor-imo).

    Perhaps somewhere along the way doctors must steel themselves against all the sickness and death they see, many times on a daily basis.

    Perhaps it becomes a survival mechanism to stop looking at the patient as human…as a partner in his or her health and well being (and ultimately, as decision maker in his or her own death).

    Yet, I think many patients also very willingly give up any and all responsibility towards their own good health.

    I do think many people visit their physicians, expecting (if not demanding) a pill or a remedy for everything–up to and including the cure of death. And, many people are disappointed and angry when their physicians cannot “deliver” good health.

    The doctor/patient dilemma is a two-way street–imo. (although, and speaking only from my own experience, I think I visit my physician(s) very well prepared to discuss alternative methods of treatment; and yet, few have been receptive of my ideas….)

    Brant, in my opinion you are correct. Certainly, health care would benefit greatly in returning to the tradition of integrative medicine, with doctors and patients working together, as a team, to figure out the needs of the patient and his or her family members.

    Such a system would encourage personal responsibility, and this is what it’s ultimately all about….

    (have you thought about returning to school, Brant, to pursue a medical degree? I would love to have a doctor with your philosophy)

    Be well,

  8. Brant Cebulla

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rita. I think you’re describing the course and decay of quality of work that applies to just about any profession.

    I have amused myself and thought briefly about pursuing an MD (would require me to first go back and do a little more undergrad work), but for a few reasons, I don’t think it’s for me.


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