Vitamin D Recommendations

  • The Nordic Nutrition recommendations 2012:
  • 0-2 years 10 µg (400 IU)
  • 3-60 years 10 µg (400 IU)
  • Pregnant, breast-feeders 10 µg (400 IU)
  • Over 60 years 20 µg (800 IU)
  • Institute of Medicine USA 2011:
  • 0-12 months 10 µg (400 IU)
  • 1-70 years old, pregnant 15 µg (600 IU)
  • 71+ years old 20 µg (800 IU)

Daily tolerable upper limit for Vitamin D for adults and teenagers: 100 µg (4000 IU), children 1-10 years 50 µg (2000 IU) and babies 25 µg (1000 IU). EFSA 2102.

The Optimal Vitamin D Level

The optimal level in serum, at least 75 nmol/l, can be reached by the dose of 800 – 1000 IU per day*.
  • 25(OH)D in nanomols per liter (nmol/l)
  • < 25 nmol/l Severe deficiency
  • 25 – 49 nmol/l Deficiency
  • 50 – 74 nmol/l Insufficiency
  • 75 – 110 nmol/l Adequacy

To reach 800-1,000 IU
Higher doses may be prescribed if you’ve been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency.

Spending daily 20 minutes in the sun with 40 per cent of body exposed to the sun.
Eating vitamin D rich or fortified foods, but many experts claim this is not nearly adequate.
Separate Vitamin D supplementation is an easy way to meet daily needs.

Testing for the Vitamin D level

The easy blood test measures the concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, or 25(OH)D, the precursor produced by the skin and converted in the body to vitamin D. If one is over age 70, has darker skin, or lives at a northern latitude (far away from equator) or not regularly exposed to the sun or wear sunscreen, are at high risk of D-deficiency and should go for testing. People who have malabsorption problems or take medications that interfere with vitamin D activity (for example, glucocorticoids) should consider it as well.

However, some experts think testing is unnecessary as long as you get 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day. Deficiency is generally defined as a blood level less than 20 nano grams per milliliter, or 20 ng/mL (see chart). Levels that low have been linked to poor bone density, falls, fractures, cancer, immune dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Many experts recommend a level of at least 32 nanograms per milliliter or 75 nmol/L and suggest that 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day is required to maintain that level.

EFSA Opinion

The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has given a positive scientific opinion which states
that an adequate intake of vitamin D plays an essential role in human health, and in particular, bone health.

Vitamin D health claims accepted by EFSA* European Food Safety Authority 2012*

  • Maintenance of normal bones and teeth.
  • Maintenance of normal muscle function.
  • Normal function of the immune system.
  • Normal inflammatory response.
  • Normal cell division.