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Diocese of Rockville Centre

Good Samaritan Hospital


Contact: Colleen Valdini
Public & External Affairs Manager
Christine Hendriks,
VP, Public & External Affairs
Phone: (631) 376-4104Date:          

December 6, 2010

West Islip, NY – Despite numerous studies over the last decade regarding how much calcium and vitamin D a person needs to be healthy, there continues to be conflicting information.  "Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D”—a report just released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent, nonprofit organization affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences—asserts that, contrary to prevailing opinion, most Americans receive sufficient calcium and vitamin D from their diet alone and do not require supplements.  Some experts contend that the new IOM report effectively deprives the American public of possible benefits whereas others support the concept that health care professionals have become overzealous in dispensing large doses of these nutrients before conclusive evidence has substantiated the benefits.

“These new recommendations are startling, especially with respect to vitamin D intake, as experts have been advising increasingly higher doses to ward off a variety of diseases such as osteoporosis.  The report has stirred controversy among thought leaders in medicine,” stated Barry L. Gruber, MD, a rheumatologist affiliated with Good Samaritan Hospital.

Dr. Gruber is among the group of medical professionals who give credit to what they regard as an impressive body of scientific evidence supporting levels higher than the IOM panel is now recommending.  For example, in cases of osteoporosis and fibromyalgia, many patients have been found to have significantly low vitamin D levels, according to Dr. Gruber.  In general, vitamin deficiencies often cause muscle weakness, especially in the elderly, in addition to impairing skeletal strength leading to fragility fractures. 

“The public needs to be aware of all the facts pertaining to health and wellness, and allow for emerging evidence as we move forward,” said Dr. Gruber. 

For more information on bone density and rheumatology services at Good Samaritan Hospital, call (631) 376-4444. 



Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds), voluntary, not-for-profit hospital located in West Islip.  The medical center, which has more than 4,500 employees and almost 900 physicians on staff, had more than 30,000 patient admissions and more than 95,000 emergency room visits in 2009.  Good Samaritan is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Visit the website at

Good Samaritan provides more than $54 million in community service and charity care each year.  The medical center supplies residents with the tools necessary to maintain good health.  This includes community lectures, screenings, health fairs and other community programs and services.