Stormy weather in the sunny country: Vitamin D and public health

Prof Caryl Nowson

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

Vitamin D affects many functions in the body, including its ability to fight infections and build muscle and bone.  Effective public health strategies are essential to ensure most of the population maintain adequate vitamin D status, whilst minimising the risk of consuming excess amounts.  Low level food fortification with vitamin D has been found to be effective in other countries and should be implemented in Australia

Some people believe that tampering with the food supply is not something governments should do.  This talk will advocate the low level vitamin D fortification common in the US, Canada and some parts of Europe.  Prof Nowson will highlight the potential adverse effects of high levels of vitamin D in the blood.  There is emerging evidence of adverse health effects with higher serum levels achieved through consumption of vitamin D supplements that probably are not seen when higher blood levels are achieved through sunlight exposure.