Institute of Medicine Releases New Vitamin D Intake Guidelines

A major new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has found that, contrary to recent claims by many, the vast majority of Americans are taking in enough vitamin D. The IOM also cautions the public against increased sun exposure, since the well-proven risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure outweighs the need to boost vitamin D production.  This announcement reinforces the messages that The Skin Cancer Foundation has issued on vitamin D.

After reviewing about 1,000 studies, the IOM team did not find sound evidence of a link between vitamin D insufficiency and various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. The studies cited in previous calls for greatly increased vitamin D intake were found to be “inconclusive” and “conflicting.” The panel’s findings did strongly support the link between vitamin D and bone health.

The IOM panel set the first new recommended vitamin D allowance guidelines for the US and Canada since 1997: 400 International Units (IU) for infants under 12 months old; 600 IU for children and adults younger than 70, and 800 for those 70 and older.  The panel also raised the “tolerable upper limit” (UL) for daily vitamin D intake from 2,000 to 4,000 IU, beyond which there are safety risks, including diminished bone health.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends 1,000 IU of vitamin D for people who practice sun protection.