March 11, 2015

Letter from the Director


What does it take to put a new medical practice in place? I am currently in Charleston, South Carolina, working with Dr. Carol Wagner and many others to put into practice the vitamin D testing of pregnant women - we call this Protect our Children NOW! (POC). It is a program that tests three times during the pregnancy with supplementation as necessary to reach at least 40 ng/ml.   


It has taken us over three years to put together our POC project. POC is a mixture of science, methodology, and technical infrastructure which enables pregnant women to track their own health outcomes; to have support of their physicians that have been 'certified' as supporters by taking two of our new online continuing education courses; to have insurance companies support the financial side of the process.


Memories for a lifetime:

  • "Let me tell you how we can help." - the Department of Health and Environmental Control        
  • "Just tell us what we need to do." - Chair of the OB/GYN Department of a large clinic
  • "You don't need to sell us, we're going to do it." - Executive of an insurance company

The sheer joy of working with so many people in the community who truly care about people, their clients, their lives is what I am encountering every day. I have told many that almost everyone I have met here is 'overworked '- they are spending many hours and much energy to do their jobs. But, when I walk in with a fully developed methodology, the supporting wherewithal to actually make it happen, they're ready to go! Many know quite a bit about vitamin D, many know Dr. Wagner personally and are making decisions for their organizations to make one of the biggest differences in health that can be made which will last for generations. (I have goosebumps a lot.)


Please take a look at this short video that I did with Dr. Wagner to talk about the POC project from her standpoint.  


Stay tuned, participate in your community - the time has COME! If you'd like more information about the project, click here and we'll help you get your community up and going too!

Thanks so much to each and every one of you for your active participation in our D*action project. You're making a difference for so many people other than yourselves. We appreciate your gift. Now is an excellent time to do your next test if you've missed one - this will be the lowest level of the year for most people, it can give you a basis for what actions you can take for the full year. Just click here to get your next test and/or, certainly enroll now if you're new to the group. Welcome! 




Carole Baggerly 

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

GrassrootsHealth Debunks RDA 



GrassrootsHealth scientists and staff have authored and published a paper, citing the D*action data, calling for the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to increase its current vitamin D recommended dietary allowance (RDA) from 600 IU/day to 7000 IU/day from all sources.  


This paper supports a paper from Paul J. Veugelers, PhD, which showed through statistical analysis, using the data the IOM was given to compute the RDA, that the IOM made an error in their analysis and that the RDA should be 8895 IU/day.  (The IOM's goal was to come up with a RDA that allows 97.5% of the people to get their serum level to 20 ng/ml.) 


Both Veugelers and Dr. Robert Heaney, using a separate data set, have determined that the RDA is wrong by an order of magnitude. Using data and standard methods of analysis, they both showed we need 10 times more than the current recommendation. 


If you want to be part of the grassroots effort to get the IOM and Health Canada to rethink these numbers - please sign this petition.  


Why 7000 IU/day?


Using the D*action data set, we plotted reported supplement intake vs. serum level for 3657 participants. This plot shows that 97.5% confidence (red lines) in a 20 ng/ml serum level corresponds to 3875 IU/day supplementation. We also get vitamin D from our food and the sun. From the answers in the D*action questionnaires we know most of our participants get 3000 IU/day from food and sun - so the total vitamin D intake for a day would need to be roughly 7000 IU/day. 




What does this mean?


The average D*action participant takes 4,000 IU/day in supplements and the average serum level of the group is 44 ng/ml. Clearly the average D*action participant ignores the RDA.


But, many of us have people we are trying to teach about vitamin D. We tell them to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml - usually by taking 4,000 IU/day or even 10,000 IU/day. We give them all the information and have them convinced. Then they go to their doctor  and learn that the RDA is 600 IU/day. They become scared and unsure of what to do. What we are recommending is too different from the establishment.


The RDA affects how doctors react to vitamin D. With the RDA set at 600 IU/day, many practitioners are hesitant to recommend that their patients take any more than 1000 - 2000 IU/day, even when they have measured the serum level and found it to be low. At that level of intake, many people will never reach a healthy level of 40 ng/ml, especially during the winter.


All sources?


Keep in mind that this 7,000 IU/day is from all sources. Just counting supplementation, this new paper arrives at 3875 IU/day in supplementation and approximately 3000 IU/day from other sources.


The numbers from both Veugelers and the RDA are also all source numbers - so we are comparing apples to apples.


Is this really enough for good health?

No! Keep in mind that this number of 7,000 IU/day from all sources is adequate to get 97.5% of the population to 20 ng/ml. A serum level of 20 ng/ml is only high enough to prevent rickets.

GrassrootsHealth recommends a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml in order to prevent disease. Using the same data and extrapolation as above, GrassrootsHealth would recommend an all-source RDA of 9122 IU/day to get 97.5% of the population to 40 ng/ml.

Where is this published?

This paper was published in the journal Nutrients and is available in open-access format for anyone to view.
The official title is:

Letter to Veugelers, P.J. and Ekwaru, J.P., A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4472-4475; doi:10.3390/nu6104472

Who are the authors?

Heaney performed the analysis and drafted the text. The other authors participated in accumulating the data and contributed to the text. All authors are scientists who are part of the GrassrootsHealth panel and work with the D*action data.

Robert P. Heaney, MD
Creighton University

Cedric Garland, Dr. PH, FACE
University of California at San Diego Preventative Medicine

Carole Baggerly
Director GrassrootsHealth

Christine French, MS

Edward Gorham, PhD
University of San Diego School of Medicine
 Editor's Letter 


Thank you for the 202 responses for our survey. If you meant to take the survey and didn't have time last week, feel free to take the survey now. We will leave it open for one more week.  


You all voted these weekly newsletters as the best part of our web site! That was surprising to me, so I will continue to give you my best effort to put some good information in each week and point you to important resources.  


The top 3 conditions you want to hear about with respect to vitamin D are cancer, nutrients, and nutrition. Most of you have been following vitamin D and GrassrootsHealth for 3-5 years. Many of you have tested your blood serum levels multiple times.


The best part is reading all the wonderful and constructive comments. Thank you for being great supporters and also telling us what you need. We want to keep this dialog open.




Susan Siljander       

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & 

Research Organization  

Moving Research into Practice NOW!



Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
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The POC Charleston Project
Join us on March 19th at 12pm PT / 3pm ET to learn more about Protect Our Children NOW!, how to get involved, and what it means to you.

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Did you miss the seminar?

Vitamin D for Public Health Seminar

December 9-10, 2014

La Jolla, CA


GrassrootsHealth Published Rebuttal
Robert P. Heaney, MD
Creighton University
March 10, 2015 

GrassrootsHealth Research Paper 

This paper shows that a supplemental dose of 9,600 IU/day will ensure that 97.5% of the population will achieve a serum 25(OH)D of at least 40 ng/ml.  

January 2011 

View Here

A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D

Paul J. Veugelers, PhD

John Paul Ekwaru, PhD 

Oct. 2014

View Here 


Sign the petition

Be part of the grassroots effort to push for a re-evaluation of the RDA for vitamin D

Every signature counts!
Sign Here 


Share this newsletter on Facebook! Click on the top left social share buttons to share this entire newsletter. 


You can prevent disease if just one more person finds out about the preventative properties of vitamin D and starts moving their blood serum levels to 40-60 ng/ml. 

Watch Interview
Do You Need a Vitamin D Supplement to Maintain Ideal Levels

Interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Robert Heaney


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