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Recent studies have shown that many children don't get enough vitamin D, and cases of rickets, a bone disorder often associated with malnourishment in the 1800s, continue to occur.
Greer, a University of Wisconsin pediatrician, acknowledged that most studies suggesting vitamin D may play a much broader role in disease prevention have been observational, not the most rigorous kind of medical evidence.
Nonetheless, many doctors consider the research compelling and many have begun to offer patients routine vitamin D testing.
Adrian Gombart, a vitamin D researcher at Oregon State University, said the new recommendations are safe and conservative but that 400 units "is probably not enough."
Gombart's lab work in human tissue has shown that vitamin D helps increase levels of a protein that kills bacteria. He said many experts believe that between 800 and 1,000 units daily would be more effective at helping fight disease.
Several members of an academy committee that helped write the guidelines have current or former ties to makers of infant formula or vitamin supplements.
On the Net:
American Academy of Pediatrics:
Institute of Medicine: http://www.iom.edu/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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