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Red alert: vitamin D deficiency in children

Posted on: March 17, 2011   by  John Cannell, MD


A few weeks ago someone finally issued a red alert for our children, how vitamin D deficiency may be injuring them in ways we can’t imagine. I love how the authors wrote that their findings should be:

“regarded as a public health emergency by all stakeholders.”

Indeed, who is not a stakeholder when it comes to our 9-12 year-old children?


At 35 degrees North, Dr. Tirang Neyestani and colleagues in Tehran, Iran, found that in the winter, 91% of the children had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, 86% lower than 15 ng/ml, and an unbelievable 38% had vitamin D levels lower than 5 ng/ml. For reasons I will not repeat, low levels are usually more reliable than high levels and this study used the German made “Immunodiagnostik” method to measure vitamin D levels.

Red alert it should be in the USA but no, we have just been subjected to the opinion of a seemingly well-intentioned group of apparently unbiased scientists from the Food and Nutrition Board who said that vitamin D is for bone and bone alone and levels of 20 ng/ml are just fine. Natural selection will take care of those who actually believe that.

Neyestani TR, Hajifaraji M, Omidvar N, Eshraghian MR, Shariatzadeh N, Kalayi A, Gharavi A, Khalaji N, Haidari H, Zowghi T, Nikooyeh B. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in school-age children in Tehran, 2008: a red alert. Public Health Nutr. 2011 Feb 28:1-7. [Epub ahead of print] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21356149


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