Vitamin D conference – NIH ODS will hold a public conference on ‘Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century–An Update’ September 5-6, 2007, in Bethesda, Maryland.

Organization: National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)

Summary: Vitamin D is a unique nutrient because its needs can be met in two distinct ways: by endogenous production from sun exposure or from foods and dietary supplements. In addition to calcium metabolism, accumulating evidence indicates other roles in human health, including immune function, reduction of inflammation, and effects on cell proliferation, differentiation, and programmed cell death. Even as its importance to health expands, concerns about the sufficiency of vitamin D in the population are growing. Reports of rickets (the classic vitamin D deficiency disease) and low blood levels of the biomarker of vitamin D status–25(OH)D–among various subgroups of the U.S. population raise concerns about current public health approaches to ensure vitamin D adequacy.

The first NIH conference on Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century was held in 2003. Subtitled Bone and Beyond, it considered knowledge regarding the measurement and maintenance of vitamin D status and the development of programs to reduce the prevalence of insufficiency. Since the 2003 conference, new issues have been raised. For example, reports indicate a growing prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in the U.S. population. They also suggest that vitamin D inadequacy occurs at blood levels previously viewed as adequate. It is time to assess current knowledge of the efficacy and safety of vitamin D to identify new research needs that will help ensure optimal vitamin D status across the life cycle.

The goals of the conference are as follows:
1. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of vitamin D across the life cycle, considering the evidence-based review produced through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center Program and research and related tools that have become available since the 2003 NIH conference, Vitamin D and Heal