So, according to a recent review published in BMJ Open (which, by the way, has become a terrific news source that very often strongly challenges accepted medical “wisdom”; who says the UK’s era is over?), prescriptions for vitamin D supplements for kids went up a staggering 26-fold between 2008 and 2016 (and I’m sure they have continued to soar since then but 2016 was the last year that the researchers could get full data for).
And in many cases, these researchers say, the doses of vitamin D that were prescribed greatly exceeded the recommended doses for those age groups.
So why is that?
Well, it could be that doctors discovered many new miraculous uses for vitamin D supplements.
Or it could be that sometime around 2008, kids in the UK were discovered to have dramatically low levels of vitamin D.
But if either of those explanations accounted for this incredible increase in vitamin D prescribing, you’d very likely see that the health of kids in the UK had gone up fantastically since vitamin D had become so popular.
Which does not seem to have happened.
So the more likely explanation is that vitamin D deficiency has turned into the deficiency-de-jour so that studies have linked low vitamin D levels to a plethora of health problems including rickets (which it clearly is linked to), seizures, asthma, eczema, respiratory tract infections, diabetes, some cancers, and a bunch of others, and doctors have just told themselves (and their patients) that they’d better jump on this vitamin D bandwagon because what is there to lose even if it doesn’t work as promised, although if they really pursued this issue, those doctors would have to admit it’s been very hard to show that supplementing with vitamin D does anything to prevent, slow, or treat any of those health problems (aside from rickets, of course.
Medicine is like everything else in life: Subject to (hostage to?) trends, although, to be fair, this trend doesn’t seem to cost much (except money poorly spent, of course).
Still, who knows what we may discover 20 years down the line in those kids who’ve been over-loaded with vitamin D?