Published on October 21, 2015

October 21, 2015

For most societies, food is not the primary source of vitamin D.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 600 IU/day of vitamin D for anyone 1-70 years old and 800 IU/day for those over 70. However, this recommendation is based on maintaining bone health with a 25(OH)D concentration of 20 ng/ml, and does not consider any other health benefits of vitamin D. With a diet of vitamin D-rich fatty fish, eggs, and meat, together with fortified food sources of milk, orange juice, and cereals 600 IU/day is possible, but may not be enough vitamin D for many people to reach 20 ng/ml. Read the NIH Fact sheet on vitamin D to learn more about how the government views vitamin D and food.

A paper by Robert Heaney et al., All-Source Basal Vitamin D Inputs Are Greater Than Previously Thought and Cutaneous Inputs Are Smaller, analyzed 8 studies with a total sample size of 3,000 individuals. The purpose was to try to determine the various sources of vitamin D input for non-supplement users.  Results are highlighted here.

The final article in this newsletter is a profile of a D*action participant who has shown that it is possible to get enough vitamin D to maintain good health from food alone, but you will see that she does not have a typical western diet. While certain food sources can contribute significantly to vitamin D status, it is likely that vitamin D supplementation will remain key to improving vitamin D status at a population level.

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