In 2016, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published revised guidelines for vitamin D intake for people living in the United Kingdom (UK). These had previously been set by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) in 1991. At the time, unless you were considered at risk of vitamin D deficiency, it was largely recommended that most of the population between the ages of 4 and 64 years old not take any vitamin D supplementation. They relied on diet alone, which can make it challenging to reach optimal vitamin D levels. It wasn’t until recently that the SACN felt that enough evidence on vitamin D had emerged to warrant a review of the existing guidelines. Here are some of the highlights of the revisions:

  • A vitamin D intake of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) is now recommended for everyone over the age of one year, especially during the fall and winter months
  • Breastfed infants are recommended to take a daily supplement dose in the range of 8.5 µg  to 10 µg or 340 -400 IU all year around
  • A daily dose of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) vitamin D supplement is recommended all year long for infants and children under the age of four years
  • Adults and adolescents are included in these recommendations, with a daily dose of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) recommended especially in the autumn and winter
  • Special consideration is given to risk groups, including pregnant and lactating women and groups who are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency may require a daily supplement all year long

The reason that 10 µg/d (400 IU/d) was selected is because this is needed by 97.5% of the population to maintain vitamin D blood levels at or greater than 25 nmol/L when there is limited exposure to UVB sunshine.  Of course, some days are sunnier than others, and this was indeed taken into consideration as the revised recommendations of vitamin D intakes take into account daily variations in vitamin D intake.

For children younger, Safe Intakes are recommended: 8.5-10 µg/340-400 IU per day for all infants aged under 1y and 10 µg/400 IU per day for ages 1 up to 4y.  The term “Safe Intakes” is used in this context rather than RNI because there was a lack of data about the vitamin D blood levels in the infant to current or long term health, therefore setting Safe Intakes was a way to be cautious while not ignoring the needs for vitamin D by this young group.

The current UK vitamin D recommendations have also provided more guidance regarding the maximum vitamin D that people should take.  Here is a breakdown of the safe upper limits for vitamin D for the UK population:

  • 8.5 -10 µg (340-400 IU) per day for infants under 12 months
  • 50 µg (2000 IU) per day for children aged 1-11 years
  • 100 µg (4000 IU) per day for adolescents and adults over 11 years

If you would just like to a quick overview of where you and your family members now fit within these new vitamin D guidelines, here is a summary table:

UK SACN chart

*People considered to be at risk include those who:

  • Have minimal direct sun exposure
  • Have dark skin
  • Usually wear clothing outdoors that covers exposed skin

Ddrops has new dosing formats that match the most up to date NHS recommendations. Baby Ddrops now contains 10 µg or 400 IU per drop and has specific instructions for administering to infants. Ddrops One is intended for use in children over 1 year, adolescents and adults. This version contains 10 µg or 400 IU per drop and has information and instructions for dosing in this group. Ddrops 25 µg or 1000 IU is intended for those who require higher vitamin D doses. Find out more about UK versions of Ddrops here. Learn more about the SACN recommendations here.

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.  

Source:  Vitamin D and Health.  Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. 2016.