Confused about how much Vitamin D you need? You are not alone. There is an abundance of information that either tells us that we do not need to worry so much about building our vitamin D levels, or multitudes of other studies that indicate that low vitamin D levels contribute to everything from cancer and heart attacks to diabetes and asthma.
What the National Institute of Medicine (IOM) says:
Normal blood levels of vitamin D should be above 20 nanograms per milliliter and are “the level that is needed for good bone health for practically all individuals.” (3)
Daily-recommended amounts are:
Children 1–13 years:600 IU
Teens 14–18 years: 600 IU
Adults 19–70 years: 600 IU
Adults 71 years +: 800 IU
Pregnant/breastfeeding: 600 IU
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed hundreds of studies and in November, 2010 reported that Americans were not suffering from tremendous deficits of vitamin D and that only adolescent girls should increase their calcium intake. (1) It is important to note that calcium intake is also needed for proper vitamin D metabolism.
What others say:
Some doctors, like Boston University Medical Center’s Michael Holick, say the IOM is far too conservative concerning vitamin D according to Discover magazine.
Holick believes that most people should be taking vitamin D supplements. “I think there is no downside to people increasing their vitamin D intake,” he said.
“I personally get 3,000 IU of vitamin D a day. I have most of my patients on 3,000 IU a day and they are all in good shape. This level of vitamin D will maximize bone health and not be toxic in any way and may have some additional benefits,” Holick said. (1)
The New York Times reported that Dr. Kevin A. Fiscella, a public health specialist and family physician at the University of Rochester, takes 1,000 international units of vitamin D each day, based on data from his studies linking racial disparities in vitamin D levels to disease risk and his belief that “it can’t hurt and it may help.”
His research “revealed much higher rates of vitamin D deficiency among non-Hispanic blacks than non-Hispanic whites.” (2)