IOM Sets New Vitamin D, Calcium Intake Levels

Agency points out that most North Americans already get enough of both nutrients

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In a new report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set new dietary intake levels for vitamin D and calcium, and the agency notes that most North Americans already get enough calcium and vitamin D to be healthy.

A. Catherine Ross, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and colleagues reviewed current data on calcium- and vitamin D-associated health outcomes and updated Dietary Reference Intakes at the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments and the IOM to clarify what amounts of the two essential nutrients are necessary.

The researchers determined that most Americans and Canadians get enough vitamin D and calcium, though adolescent girls may fall short in calcium intake and elderly individuals may not get enough of either nutrient. According to the report, 700 mg of calcium daily meets the needs of almost all 1- to 3-year-olds; 1,000 mg is sufficient for most 4- to 8-year-olds; 9- through 18-year-olds need no more than 1,300 mg; 1,000 mg is sufficient for women through age 50 and men through 70; and women starting at 51 and men at 71 need no more than 1,200 mg. Vitamin D needs were set at 600 International Units (IUs) for most North Americans, and up to 800 IUs daily for people 71 and older, with an upper threshold of 2,500 to 4,000 IUs according to age. Upper intake limits for calcium ranged from 2,000 to 3,000 mg.

"Scientific evidence indicates that calcium and vitamin D play key roles in bone health. The current evidence, however, does not support other benefits for vitamin D or calcium intake. More targeted research should continue. However, the committee emphasizes that, with a few exceptions, all North Americans are receiving enough calcium and vitamin D. Higher levels have not been shown to confer greater benefits, and in fact, they have been linked to other health problems, challenging the concept that 'more is better,'" the authors write.

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