Vitamin D – New Recommendations for Intake!

Vitamin D has been one of the most talked about vitamins over the past two years.  Experts have recently increased their recommendations for daily intake as well [1].

For the first time since 1997, the Institute of Medicine which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, has been asked to update their recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D by the United States and Canada.  The 14-member expert committee has recently released their new recommendations for dietary reference intakes of vitamin D and calcium.

New official recommendations are not advocating the for the substantial increase in vitamin D intake that some people had expected.

Previous recommended dietary allowances for Vitamin D:

  • Children and young adults:  200 IU per day
  • Adults 50-70 years of age:  400 IU per day
  • Elderly:  600 IU per day

New recommended dietary allowances for Vitamin D:

  • Most people (1 – 70 years old):  600 IU per day
  • Elderly (>70 years old):  800 IU per day

Though Vitamin D is produced by your body in response to sunlight exposure, the experts have not recommended increasing sun exposure due to the risk of skin cancer.  Vitamin D is also found in fortified foods (including milk) and naturally in fatty fish.

Despite suggestions and the increase in number of screening tests for vitamin D, the experts concluded that vitamin D deficiency is not as widespread concern based on the available evidence.

Concern that the previous recommendations were out-dated was based on research suggesting numerous potential health benefits of vitamin D intake.  Some studies have suggested widespread deficiencies which would leaving  people at potentially increased risk of everything from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to the common flu.  Despite these studies, the expert panel concluded that further research was warranted into other health issues apart from vitamin D’s role (along with calcium) in maintaining strong bones.

Vitamin D and Calcium Recommendations:

Calcium and Vitamin D Recommended Itake
Recommended Itake of Calcium and Vitamin D

[Click above image to enlarge]

Along with these new recommendations for vitamin d intake, the expert panel has recognized the safety of vitamin D by increasing the upper limit from 2000 IU per day to 4000 IU.  They did acknowledge that even at 4000 IU per day, there is no evidence of harm.

Do the new recommendations go far enough?

With these new guidelines released on November 30th of this year, they’ve already met with some controversy since many experts feel that they’re still inadequate.  In response to these guidelines, a report was published on the Harvard School of Public Health Website.

“The new guidelines, however, are overly conservative about the recommended intake, and they do not give enough weight to some of the latest science on vitamin D and health. For bone health and chronic disease prevention, many people are likely to need more vitamin D than even these new government guidelines recommend.”

The Harvard report highlights much of the latest research on vitamin D and various ailments including: heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, cancer, immune function, the flu and common cold, risk of premature death, and tuberculosis.


  1. Institute of Medicine brief report on Vitamin D and Calcium

9 thoughts on “Vitamin D – New Recommendations for Intake!

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  • February 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Personally, while I didn’t necessarily expect a huge jump in recommended dosage, I do feel as though one would have been appropriate.

    My mother is a nurse practitioner and expert in clinical nutrition. She has been advocating for an increase in recommended guidelines for vitamin d for several years now. She would also like to see the guidelines changed to specify vitamin d3, as opposed to d2 or any other forms of the nutrient.

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  • December 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I take at least 6000iu a day, when I was on my medically supervised diet they had me on 10000iu. I have heard of friends being prescribed 50,000 (yes 50k) iu for brief periods in order to bring their levels up, and your body supposedly can make 30-50k iu in 30 minutes in the sun (full body exposure). So the toxicity is very low unless your allergic to D (and thus can’t go out in the sun because you body would produce it!) or allergic to the oil or capsule/softgetl its packaged in.

    Also besides the other benefits that are well known, Vitamin D plays a part in approximately 1/6th of our genome, almost everything we do has some vitamin D impact. I don’t recommend people take insane doses without a physicians assistance, but I wouldn’t want to be taking less then 2000iu personally.

    • December 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

      Hi Matt, thanks for sharing your stories about vitamin D intakes–those are some whopping doses for sure. I myself am taking a fairly conservative daily dose of 2000 IU.

      • December 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

        Yeah I think Vitamin D may be one of the next “big” things in terms of nutrition because it has the potential to impact so many things, some are even saying that Vitamin D is more of a hormone then a vitamin.

        One more reference I noticed from looking over my labs again today, before I had my level tested I had been taking 5000iu for probably several months and my level was 35 with the scale being 32-100. The Dr was recommending I be in the 50-100 range as ideal, just found that interesting. Of course everyone responds differently and what works for me may not work for others, but for me now that I am not being regularly tested that 6000iu is very safe.

        • December 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm

          Hey Matt, most studies I’ve read suggest that it’s best to keep vitamin D levels above 35 ng/ml which isn’t to be confused with some scales that are nmol/L. For the nmol/L scale, then it should be over 90.

  • December 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Between my naturopath and my GP I’m taking over 8000 UI of Vit daily and I’m beginning to think perhaps they’ve been out in the sun too long.

  • December 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    As a fitness professional I suggest supplements for my clients to consider in addition to nutrition and fitness help. Vitamin D3 is definitely on my list (along with a greens multi and Omega 3). My clients almost always see a boost in mood after starting D3 supplementation. Also, being in upstate NY, we don’t see the sun much after September…..


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