The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Biggest winner in CAM for 2008

    Vitamin D, of course.

    A PubMed search revealed 146 studies in humans during 2008 for a dizzying list of conditions.

    To start, researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston have published a detailed review.

    Highlights from 2008
    ADA recomendation

    • The AAD is opposed to “unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.”
    • And that includes sunlight and tanning parlors.
    • According to AAD, the best sources of vitamin D come “from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods/beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or vitamin D supplements.”

    Recommendations in pediatrics

    • The American Academy of Pediatrics doubled the recommended daily vitamin D intake from 200 IU to 400 IU for infants, children, and adolescents.

    Vitamin D deficiency and exposure to the sun

    • Regardless of one’s complexion or the extent of UV exposure, daily vitamin D supplementation taken by mouth can compensate for the lack of vitamin D production in the skin.

    Breast cancer

    • Calcium and vitamin D supplementation did not reduce invasive breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women.
    • In addition, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were not associated with subsequent breast cancer risk.

    Prostate cancer

    • Research does not support the hypothesis that vitamin D is associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer.

    The elderly

    • Taking calcium and vitamin D might protect bones, but it doesn’t guarantee that older women will become more active.

    Type 1 diabetes

    • Vitamin D treatment during infancy might protect from the development of type 1 diabetes,

    Age-related macular degeneration

    • Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) might protect against AMD.


    • Vitamin D failed to stop geriatric hospital patients from falling.

    The bottom line?
    Despite the studies and reviews listed above, admittedly I chose not to summarize most of the vitamin D studies that appeared in my searches. Just too many and too difficult to identify those that might be clinically significant.

    Here’s a summary of studies that seemed most relevant to daily living.

    Also, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published a supplement from a conference titled “Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century: An Update.” Abstracts from 20 articles based on this meeting can be found here.

    12/27/08 19:15 JR

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