New Vitamin D Recommendations for Older Men and Women

In light of growing evidence of widespread vitamin D deficiency, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has released a new position statement with increased vitamin D recommendations for older men and women. The statement was published in Osteoporosis International.[1]

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes from dietary supplements, foods such as fortified milk and cereal, certain kinds of fish (including salmon, mackerel, and tuna), and exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is an important component of bone and muscle health.

The objective of the new position statement was to make vitamin D recommendations for older men and women from an evidence-based perspective. The best indicator of vitamin D levels is the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), which is determined by sun exposure and vitamin D intake. Blood levels of vitamin D decline with age; however, individuals have been shown to respond to vitamin D supplementation regardless of age.

Based on a growing body of evidence, the IOF has made the following recommendations:

  • The estimated average vitamin D requirement for older adults to reach appropriate blood levels of the nutrient is 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) per day.
  • Individuals who are obese, have osteoporosis, have limited sun exposure, or suffer from malabsorption may need to increase their intake to 2,000 IU/day.
  • High-risk individuals are encouraged to undergo testing to measure blood levels of vitamin D and then supplement accordingly.

Because there is such a widespread deficiency of vitamin D, the IOF hopes that the new recommendations will help to prevent falls and fractures in the older population.

People who have questions about the level of vitamin D that’s right for them are advised to talk with their physician.


[1] Dawson_hughes B, Mithal A, Bonjour JP, et al. IOF position statement: Vitamin D recommendations for older adults. Osteoporosis International. DOI 10:1007/s00198-010-1285-3.

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