WEDNESDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- It has long been known
that getting enough vitamin D is key to bone health, yet vitamin D
deficiency remains a common health issue, experts say.
According to the Endocrine Society, very few foods naturally
contain or are fortified with vitamin D, and sunlight is one of the
best sources of the nutrient.
People who don't get enough vitamin D are at risk for calcium,
phosphorus and bone metabolism abnormalities, which can lead to a
number of diseases, including osteoporosis. Children with a vitamin
D deficiency can also develop skeletal deformities known as
rickets, the experts pointed out in a society news release.
"Vitamin D deficiency is very common in all age groups, and it is important that physicians and health-care providers have the best evidence-based recommendations for evaluating, treating and preventing vitamin D deficiency in patients at highest risk," Dr. Michael F. Holick, of Boston University School of Medicine, said in the news release. Holick chairs a task force that authored the society's new clinical practice guidelines published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The Endocrine Society issued the guidelines in response to the
possible health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency. Among
the group's recommendations:
- People who are considered at high risk should be routinely
screened for vitamin D deficiency.
- People who are diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency should be
treated with either a vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 supplement.
To maximize bone health and muscle function, people considered
at high risk for a deficiency should adhere to the following
guidelines for dietary intake of vitamin D:
- Infants up to 12 months of age require at least 400
international units (IU) a day.
- Children older than 1 year and adults from 19 to 70 years old,
including pregnant and lactating women, should consume at least 600
- People older than 70 years should get a minimum of 800 IU a
The task force stressed that in order to raise the blood level
of vitamin D consistently above 30 nanograms per milliliter, a
significantly higher intake of vitamin D may be required. The group
also noted that vitamin D screening is not necessary for people who
are not considered at risk for the deficiency. And, it said there
is no evidence supporting use of vitamin D supplements for benefits
other than bone health.
The U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements has more on