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Winthrop’s Chief Academic Officer Participates in Institute of Medicine Study - Archived
April 27, 2011

Vitamin D and calcium are essential nutrients for maintaining proper bone health, but conflicting recommendations regarding recommended intake of these nutrients – and about other possible benefits of these nutrients – have led many Americans to wonder just how much vitamin D and calcium they really need, and how much is too much.

To answer these and other questions relating to vitamin D and calcium intake, John F. Aloia, MD, Winthrop’s Chief Academic Officer and Director of Winthrop’s Bone Mineral Research Center, recently served on the national Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D and Calcium for the Institute of Medicine (IOM) – one of the most influential and prestigious health policy organizations in the country. After reviewing more than 1,000 published studies and speaking with scientists from the U.S. and Canada, the committee assessed and updated the DRIs for vitamin D and calcium, with special consideration given to chronic and non-chronic disease indicators and to the impact of both insufficient and excessive intake of vitamin D and calcium. The group recently published its findings, “Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D,” in the National Academies Press. The report includes a detailed chart that lists Estimated Average Requirements, Recommended Dietary Allowances, and Upper Level Intakes for both vitamin D and calcium across the lifespan.

The committee found that consuming amounts of these nutrients in excess of their recommendations can be harmful to one’s health. In fact, too much vitamin D may damage the kidneys and heart, and excess intake of calcium may lead to kidney stones.

“There has been an overestimation of vitamin D inadequacy based on promotion of higher levels of vitamin D,” explained Dr. Aloia, a nationally recognized expert in the areas of calcium, vitamin D and osteoporosis and the author of over 160 original, peer-reviewed papers, chapters, monographs and reviews in scientific and educational journals. “The IOM committee found that vitamin D intake in North Americans is adequate and pointed out the hazards of ‘too much of a good thing.’”

The committee also investigated reports pointing to other possible benefits of vitamin D, including protection against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. A review of hundreds of studies revealed that there is not enough evidence at this time to support the claim that vitamin D has any of these effects.

To read the committee’s full report and view their recommendations, visit

For more information, call (516) 663-2234.

Contact: Carolann Martines
Associate Writer
(516) 663-2234
John F. Aloia, MD, Chief Academic Officer of Winthrop and Director of Winthrop’s Bone Mineral Research Center