At a recent meeting, 25 international experts analyzed vitamin D intake recommendations to prevent osteoporotic fractures, the frequency of falls and rickets.
An international conference was recently held in the Netherlands to exchange new scientific insights on vitamin D’s broader effect on human health and the resulting implications for the vitamin’s requirements (1). 25 well-respected experts in the field of vitamin D and human nutrition concluded that guidelines and recommendations for vitamin D intake should be uniform across Europe. Critical analysis of the evidence showed that rickets in children and infants can be prevented by 400 IU /day and that osteoporotic fractures and the frequency of falls can be reduced by a vitamin D3 intake of about 800 IU /day plus adequate calcium. Such intakes should be widely implemented. Further controlled studies appeared necessary in order to define optimal vitamin D status in different population groups.
The experts noted that currently large numbers of individuals suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Infants, young children, veiled women, persons with a dark skin, elderly and people who live at high latitudes are at an increased risk of an inadequate vitamin D status. In the elderly population, deficiency may even exceed 90%. The classical consequence of vitamin D deficiency in adults is osteoporosis, but recent insights into the function of vitamin D suggest that it may play a role in other systems including the cardiovascular system. It may also have an effect on muscles, the pancreas and the brain.