Questions About Vitamin D for Primary Care Practice: Input From an NIH Conference

Am J Med. 2015 Nov;128(11):1167-70. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.05.025. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


There is considerable consumer and physician interest in vitamin D as a possible therapeutic agent for a range of clinical conditions and, despite mixed evidence, the interest does not appear to lessen. Some clinicians believe that consumption of vitamin D is inadequate and, in turn, advocate vitamin D supplementation to increase serum levels of the nutrient. However, evidence concerning the role of vitamin D in health and disease is conflicting, and primary care physicians have little time to sort through the data and may find it difficult to advise their patients. To better understand the challenges that primary care physicians face regarding vitamin D, and to help inform those who provide guidance for clinical decision-making, the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, with co-sponsorship from other federal health agencies, held a conference titled Vitamin D: Moving Toward Evidence-based Decision Making in Primary Care in December 2014. More than 20 invited presenters and panelists considered laboratory methods for measuring vitamin D status, discussed how clinical studies of vitamin D should be evaluated and used in developing recommendations, noted the role of values and preferences in clinical decision-making, debated the current science related to at-risk groups, and described emerging data about health risks of excessive intakes of vitamin D. Eight questions about vitamin D stem from the Conference presentations as well as other expert sources.

Keywords: 25(OH)D; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; Laboratory testing; Screening; Supplementation; Vitamin D; Vitamin D status.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Primary Health Care*
  • United States
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Vitamins / adverse effects
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D