A new report from the US Institute of Medicine has set out new, increased, dietary recommendations for calcium and vitamin D.
The report found that most Americans and Canadians need 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day to maintain health (1). People aged over 71 may need an increased level of up to 800 IUs, because of potential physical and behavioral changes related to aging. In addition, the tolerable upper intake level for vitamin D was doubled from 2,000 to 4,000 IU /day for adults.
According to the researchers, evidence for the role of calcium in bone health shows that for virtually all adults aged between 19 and 50 1,000 milligrams cover daily calcium needs, however women aged over 51 and everyone aged 71 and above require 1,200 milligrams per day.
The report says that there is good evidence to indicate that calcium and vitamin D play important roles in bone health. The report also reviewed hundreds of studies on the possible health effects of vitamin D, such as protection against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. The review concluded that although these studies suggest possibilities that warrant further investigation, they have yielded conflicting and mixed results, and so do not currently offer the evidence needed to confirm that vitamin D has such health benefits.
The updated Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), which include Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), Estimated Average Requirements and Upper Level Intakes (ULs), are intended to serve as a guide for good nutrition and provide the basis for the development of nutrient guidelines.
Experts commented that increasing the DRI levels was a step in the right direction for vitamin D which can benefit the public overall (2). The scientists still maintain that vitamin D intake varies from person to person based on their lifestyles and situations. Furthermore, they point out that the increase is relatively conservative and lags behind the mountain of research demonstrating benefits of significantly higher vitamin D intakes for adults.