How much vitamin D do I need?

Unfortunately this isn’t a straight forward question.  There is a wide range of recommendations

The Nutrient Reference Values for New Zealand are:

Age AI (Adequate Intake)
0-50 yr 200 IU
51-70 yr 400 IU
71+ yr 600 IU

 

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) have the following recommendations for Vitamin D intake. 

Note that these are considerably higher than the recommendations above.

Infants 0-12 months 0 IU/day
1-18 years 600 IU/day
19-50 600 IU/day
51-70 600 IU/day
Over 70 years old 800 IU/day
Pregnant women aged 14-50 600 IU/day

The New Zealand and the FNB’s recommendations are to achieve a 25(OH)D level of 50 nmol/L – which as I mentioned in this article is just far too low.  
Many experts have publically criticised these recommendations.  My personal belief is that these recommendations will increase dramatically over the next couple of years to be more in line with current research that shows the beneftis of higher levels of vitamin D.

Dr Mercola – Who has one of the largest health websites has the following vitamin D intake recommendations.  Dr Mercola goes into detail on his site to justify these levels.  These are around 10x higher than the recommendations above!

Age Dosage/day
Below 5 16 IU per kg per day
Age 5 – 10 2500 IU
Adults 5000 IU
Pregnant Women 5000 IU

 

The Weston A Price Foundation – an organisation that provides health and nutrition education, recommendations are:

Children age 3 months to 12 years 500-1000IU/day
Children over 12 years and adults 1000-2000IU/day
Pregnant and nursing women 2000-4000 IU/day

 

Putting all this information shows the large variety in recommendations.  It’s also important to note that the amount of vitamin D required for the individual will vary depending on their vitamin D status – which can only be determined by a 25(OH)D test – see this article.  Illness and medical conditions can also increase the vitamin D requirement.

In my opinion the New Zealand, and FNBs recommendations are far too low.  If I’m asked to quote numbers my recommended intakes would be:

Children <12 yrs 2000 – 3000 IU/day

Adults 3000-4000 IU/day

Pregnant and nursing women 5000 IU/day

If you’re looking to achieve this with Green Pasture cod liver oil the vitamin D levels of our cod liver oil varies from batch to batch.  The latest test data can be found here

If we assume that cod liver oil carries 750 IU/ml.

  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) = 1875 IU – my recommendation for children <12yr
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) = 3750 IU – my recommended dosage for over 12 yrs
  • 1.5 tsp (7.5ml) = 5625 IU – my recommended dosage for pregnant or lactating women
  • Note that 2 x capsules = 1ml or 750 IU

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