Vitamin D in Australia : issues and recommendations
Nowson, Caryl A., Diamond, Terrence H., Pasco, Julie A., Mason, Rebecca S., Sambrook, Philip N. and Eisman, John A. 2004, Vitamin D in Australia : issues and recommendations, Australian family physician, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 133-138.
BACKGROUND A significant number of Australians and people from specific groups within the community are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. It is no longer acceptable to assume that all people in Australia receive adequate vitamin D from casual exposure to sunlight.
OBJECTIVE This article provides information on causes, consequences, treatment and prevention of vitamin D deficiency in Australia.
DISCUSSION People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, those with skin conditions where avoidance of sunlight is required, dark skinned people (particularly women during pregnancy or if veiled) and patients with malabsorption, eg. coeliac disease. For most people, deficiency can be prevented by 5–15 minutes exposure of face and upper limbs to sunlight 4–6 times per week. If this is not possible then a vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU* per day is recommended. In cases of established vitamin D deficiency, supplementation with 3000-5000 IU per day for at least 1 month is required to replete body stores. Increased availability of larger dose preparations of cholecalciferol would be a useful therapy in the case of severe deficiencies. * 40 IU (international units) = 1 µg
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