Vitamin D can help protect your bones, brain and heart and lower your risk for sickness, disease and even death.

And maybe that's why some people don't want you to have it.

As you've probably heard by now, the Institute of Medicine has unveiled its new recommendations for vitamin D--and they're not just off the mark.

They're dangerous.

Without conducting a single study of its own, the Institute declared that most Americans and Canadians get plenty of vitamin D and don't need supplements, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

And while the Institute claims to have looked at around 1,000 studies to come up with its recommendations, they clearly left a few out:

  • A new study out of California finds 30 percent of metabolic syndrome patients are D deficient, and 84 percent of them suffer from insufficient levels.
  • The same study, published in Hormone and Metabolic Research, finds even healthy patients with no sign of metabolic syndrome are missing out: Eight percent of them are deficient, and 67 percent have insufficient levels of D.
  • A new study of 723 orthopedic patients finds 43 percent to have low levels of vitamin D and 40 percent to be vitamin D deficient, according to The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
  • A study last year in Pediatrics, based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found 70 percent of all U.S. kids to have low levels of the sunshine vitamin.While the Institute did recommend an increase in D levels for most people, they settled on a bizarre one-size-fits-most formula that makes the unbelievable claim that a 25-pound toddler and a 200-pound middle-aged man should both get the same amount: 600 IU per day.As far as the Institute's concerned, it doesn't even matter where you live... what color your skin is... or even how often you head outside, all of which can play a role in vitamin D levels--600 is the magic number, except for the very, very young and the very, very old.

    But you don't need to be an alternative health radical to realize that's not enough.

    Just check in with the Harvard School of Public Health, which responded to the new recommendations by reaffirming its own advice: Between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day for most people over the age of 2, with some needing up to 4,000 IU per day depending on all those other factors I mentioned.

    The bottom line is that vitamin D is the most important single nutrient you could take. Recent studies have found it can help fight depression, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even the flu--and it's no surprise that all of those conditions are on the rise as our D levels fall to new lows.

    So for failing us on one of the biggest and most anticipated nutritional recommendations in recent years, the Institute of Medicine doesn't just get a "D" on this.

    They've earned an F.