Children, pregnant women, adults aged over 75, and those with high-risk diabetes should take more vitamin D than the current recommended daily allowance, medics have said.

While many diseases have been linked to Vitamin D use and blood vitamin D levels, the debate is ongoing as to whether taking vitamin D supplements helps to cut the risk. There is also uncertainty around optimum vitamin D blood levels for better health.

The Endocrine Society developed new a Clinical Practice Guideline from the results of clinical trials, and has said that certain people would benefit from more vitamin D than currently recommended by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM).

Marie Demay, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and chair of the panel that developed the guideline, said: “The goal of this guideline was to address the vitamin D requirements for disease prevention in a generally healthy population with no underlying conditions that would put them at risk of impaired vitamin D absorption or action.

“Healthy populations who may benefit from higher dose vitamin D supplements are those 75 and older, pregnant people, adults with prediabetes, and children and adolescents 18 and younger, but we do not recommend routine testing for vitamin D levels in any of these groups.”

The panel’s key guidelines include:

  • Healthy adults under 75 years old are not likely to benefit from vitamin D supplements at doses beyond that recommended by the IOM.
  • Certain groups may benefit from higher intake of vitamin D than recommended by the IOM:
    –           Children and adolescents 18 and younger, due to the potential to prevent nutritional rickets and to reduce the risk of respiratory infection
    –           Individuals 75 and older, as it could lower mortality risk.
    –           Pregnant people due to the potential to reduce risk of pre-eclampsia, intra-uterine mortality, preterm birth, small-for-gestational age birth and neonatal mortality
    –           People with prediabetes as it could reduce progression to diabetes.
  • For adults aged 50 years and older who have indications for vitamin D supplementation or treatment, daily, lower-dose vitamin D are suggested instead of non-daily, higher-dose vitamin D.
  • Routine testing for 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in any of the populations studied is not recommended, since the benefits have not been established. This includes 25-hydroxyvitamin D screening in people with dark complexion or obesity.

The panel of experts also highlighted that while evidence on the role of vitamin D in health and disease has increased over the last decade, there are many limitations in the available evidence.

For example, many of the large clinical trials were not designed for several of the outcomes that they reported.

They also highlighted how the studied populations already had vitamin D blood levels that would be considered adequate.

Read more in JCEM.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Twice daily dairy intakes could reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Eating cheese, yoghurt or eggs twice a day could help lower the…

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…