Vitamin D is well known for its benefits in maintaining healthy bones, therefore it is not surprising that medical organizations around the world make specific vitamin D recommendations as part of their public health services. While we recommend that you consult your healthcare provider to discuss your personal vitamin D requirements, we thought it would be interesting to put together a list of various countries and their vitamin D guidelines. Recommendations made in μg were converted to IU in order to facilitate comparisons throughout the article. The conversion rate used was 1 μg = 40 IU. Also, note that these recommendations may have been updated or modified since our analysis, and it is possible that more up-to-date recommendations exist, but that we were unable to find them.
First, here is a recap of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) vitamin D recommendations from 2011. This serves as a basis for most North American guidelines:1
- Birth to age 1 – 400 IU / day
- 1 year to 70 years of age – 600 IU / day
- 71 years of age or older – 800 IU / day
The European Food Safety Authority recommendations from 2013: 2
- Infants from 0-36 months – 400 IU / day
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vitamin D supplementation guidelines:2
- Newborns between the ages of 1 and 2 weeks – 400 IU / day.
- For older people, vitamin D supplement is recommended to be taken “if necessary” after considering the amount of vitamin D consumed in the diet.
The recommended a daily vitamin D supplementation in Sweden: 2
- Children from birth to the age of 2 – 400 IU / day
The Health Council of the Netherlands vitamin D daily supplementation recommendation: 3
- Those who do not have light skin – 400-800 IU / day
The German Nutrition Society states it is only when somebody gets frequent sun exposure that they can actually achieve the appropriate amount of vitamin D. The German Nutrition Society daily vitamin D recommendations are specific for when there is a lack of naturally synthesized vitamin D: 4
- Children and adults – 800 IU / day.
The Osteoporosis Australia organization recommends that Australians spend time outside in the sun to get their vitamin D, and their recommendations are based on skin type, season, skin exposed and time of day. Only Australians with low vitamin D levels are recommended to take a vitamin D supplement:5
- For those who get some exposure to sun but not enough – 600 IU / day if they are under 70 years of age or 800 IU / day if they are over 70 years of age.
- For those who do not get any sunlight at all – 1000-2000 IU / day regardless of their age.
- For those who have moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency – 3000-5000 IU vitamin D / day for 6-12 weeks and then maintain their levels with 1000-2000 IU / day based on their physician’s guidance.
Despite the sunshine and the hot weather, India has a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. The Endocrine Society of India makes the following vitamin D daily recommendations: 6
- Infants – 400 IU / day
- Children – 600-1000 IU / day
- Teenagers – 1000 IU / day
- Pregnant women – 1000-2000 IU / day after their 12th week of gestation.
A medical panel in Japan has made recommendations for a variety of nutrients, including vitamin D. Their recommendations provide details on the adequate intake of vitamin D / day for various age groups, but it is only for pregnant women and lactating women that they specifically mention an “amount to be added”, which we assume means via supplementation:7
- Pregnant women – 60 IU / day
- Lactating women – 100 IU / day
The South African Medical Association recommendations to prevent and treat osteoporosis on a customized basis. The criteria that need to be considered consist of bone mineral density of both hip and spine and clinical risk factors such as falls, patient’s age, general health and even their willingness to be treated. Vitamin D is a recommended choice for mild osteopenia.8
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Natalie Bourré is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a mom of 4 young children, health writer and social media consultant who is passionate about promoting good health for the entire family. She is keen to share scientific information about about vitamin D in an easy to understand fashion. She also truly listens to people’s input and as such, she welcomes you to connect, discuss and share your questions and feedback with her on our social media accounts.
- C. Ross, J. E. Manson, S. A. Abrams et al. The 2011 Report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: What Clinicians Need to Know. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan; 96(1): 53–58. Published online 2010 Nov 30.doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-2704
- Spiro, A., Buttriss, J.L. Vitamin D: An overview of vitamin D an dintake in Europe. Nutr Bull. 2014 Dec; 39(4): 322–350. Published online 2014 Sep 30.doi: 1111/nbu.12108
- Weggemans RM, Schaafsma G and Kromhout D. Towards an adequate intake of vitamin D. An advisory report of the Health Council of the Netherlands. Eur J Clin Nutr.2009 Dec;63(12):1455-7. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.67. Epub 2009 Jul 22.
- German Nutrition Society. New reference values for vitamin D. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;60(4):241-6. doi: 10.1159/000337547. Epub 2012 Jun 1.
- Osteoporosis Australia. Vitamin D. 12/03/2015. http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/vitamin-d
- Indian endocrinologists set guidance to combat vitamin D deficiency. BMJ2015; 351 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5997 (Published 09 November 2015
- Kiyoshi Tanaka, Junji TfeRAO, Yoshihiro Shidoji et al. Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese 2010: Fat-Soluble Vitamins. Nutr Sci Vitaminol, 59, S57-S66, 2013.
- Hough S. Osteoporosis Clinical Guideline. South African Medical Association – Osteoporosis Working Group. S Afr Med J.2000 Sep;90(9 Pt 2):907-44