Vitamin D Intake Recommendations

In 2016, the scientific panel on Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that a population reference intakes (PRI) cannot be derived for vitamin D and therefore, defined adequate intakes (AIs) instead, for all population groups (97)

 Age    AI mcg/day
 6–11 months 10 (400 IU)
 1–3 years 15 (600 IU)
 4–6 years 15 (600 IU)
 7-10 years 15 (600 IU)
 11-14 years 15 (600 IU)
 15-18 years 15 (600 IU)
 > 18 years 15 (600 IU)

The EFSA authority has set the AI assuming conditions of minimal cutaneous vitamin D synthesis. For pregnancy and lactation, the AI was set to 15 mcg/day.

However, most European countries have their own recommendations for vitamin D intake, recognizing that there may be insufficient sun exposure in larger or smaller groups of the population. As the dietary vitamin D intake is not sufficient to reach the estimated value for adequate intake (in the absence of endogenous synthesis), guaranteeing a desired 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum concentration of at least 50 nmol/l, the nutrition societies of GermanyAustria and Switzerland raised the recommended intake level for babies (0-11 months) to 10 mcg/day and for children and adults to 20 mcg/day in 2012.

In 2010, the U.S. Institute of Medicine established recommended dietary allowance (RDA) values for vitamin D, based on the prevention of deficiency (96):

 Life Stage   Age  Males: (mcg/day)
Females: (mg/day)
 Infants 0–6 months 10 (400 IU) 10 (400 IU)
 Infants  7–12 months 10 (400 IU) 10 (400 IU)
 Children   1–3 years 15 (600 IU) 15 (600 IU)
 Children  4–8 years 15 (600 IU) 15 (600 IU)
 Children 9–13 years 15 (600 IU) 15 (600 IU)
 Adolescents 14–18 years 15 (600 IU) 15 (600 IU)
 Adults 19-70 years 15 (600 IU) 15 (600 IU)
 Adults 71 years and older 20 (800 IU) 20 (800 IU)
 Pregnancy all ages - 15 (600 IU)
 Breast-feeding all ages - 15 (600 IU)

Many experts believe that the AI levels should be increased (62, 63, 64, 94). They have proposed an optimal 25(OH)D blood plasma level above 30 nanograms/milliliter  (75 nanomoles/liter). To achieve this level a vitamin D intake of at least 800–1,000 IU/day (20–25 micrograms) is required by adults and the elderly as shown by supplementation studies.

Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently increased their vitamin D intake recommendation to 400 IU/day for all infants, children, and adolescents (65).

In recent years, many scientific societies and major countries have updated their guidelines for vitamin D with higher recommendations than before (98).  A large consensus exists that there is need for sufficient vitamin D levels, however, disagreement still exists with regard to dosage or optimal concentration of 25(OH)D.

For a detailed overview of recommended daily intakes (PRIs/RDAs) of vitamins and minerals for adults derived from different countries and organizations see PDF.

Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed and updated by Dr Igor Bendik-Falconnier on 18.06.2017

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