The much-hyped benefits of vitamin D have become so tantalizing that doctors in Ontario last year ordered nearly three-quarters of a million of the blood tests that determine a patient’s level of the sunshine vitamin.

But the growing popularity has become a major issue. The provincial Ministry of Health is mulling over a proposal from its medical advisory committee to eliminate most of the discretion doctors have in asking for the $50 tests and have them paid by the province.

The committee says most of the tests are not medically necessary, prompting an outcry from practitioners who have found that many patients have dramatic health improvements after taking megadoses of vitamin D and who believe that the proposal is based on financial considerations rather than patient health.

Read full article

ANH Comment

In these straitened financial times, it seems a shame that authorities would rather save money by erecting barriers to inexpensive vitamin D testing, than consider the potential benefits that wider supplementation might bring. Mounting evidence links adequate vitamin D with reduced rates of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and influenza, among others. Any healthcare system taking advantage of vitamin D’s full range of health benefits could be expected to make huge cost savings, and considerably more than could be achieved simply by restricting the tests that doctors can order.

We can only hope that doctors have recognised the need for additional vitamin D and continue to use good clinical judgment in favour of vitamin D supplementation.  Aloia and colleagues from Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY, USA have suggested that doses of between 3800-5000 IU per day are needed to maintain optimum levels for good health.[1]

This video by renowned researcher Michael Holick contains plenty of useful information on vitamin D and its health benefits if you want a reminder.

For further information on vitamin D see the Vitamin D Council website.


[1] Aloia JF, Patel M, Dimaano R, et al. Vitamin D intake to attain a desired serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87(6): 1952-8.

ANH Europe homepage