Vitamin D is a nutrient that can be obtained from sun exposure, food and dietary supplements. In supplements and fortified foods, vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. Most supplements contain D3, which is more effectively metabolised than D2. U.S. health officials recommend a daily vitamin D intake of 200 to 2,000 International Units (IU) to prevent diseases like osteoporosis and cancer. Some clinical research, however, including several studies appearing in "American Journal of Clinical Research," indicates that a daily vitamin D3 dosage of 5000 IU results in maximum health benefits for some individuals.
Maintaining Optimal Vitamin D Status
According to the NIH, blood serum concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) is the best indicator of a person's vitamin D status. Blood levels of 25(OH)D are measured in nanomoles per litre (nmol/L). Concentrations of 37.5 nmol/L are considered adequate by the National Institute of Medicine (NIM), although some research, including a 2008 study by the Bone Mineral Research Center, cites evidence that optimal 25(OH)D concentration is at least 75 nmol/L. This study concluded that daily vitamin D3 dosage of 3800 to 5000 IU is necessary to achieve 25(OH)D concentration of 75nmol/L. A 2003 study, which considered 70.3 nmol/L the optimal concentration, concluded that healthy men require at least 3000 to 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily during winter months. Older adults may also benefit from vitamin D3 dosing of 5000 IU. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Saskatchewan concluded that while adults under than the age of 65 need at least 2000 IU daily to maintain 25(OH)D concentration of 75nmol/L, those 65 and older need at least 5000 IU.
The Mayo Clinic reports that although the NIM recommends a maximum vitamin D3 daily upper limit of 2000 IU for general health maintenance, higher doses may be administered to patients with rickets, a bone disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. For the gradual treatment of rickets in children and adults, vitamin d3 does of 5000 to 10000 IU may taken daily for two to three months, until recovery is well-established and vitamin D blood concentration is at close to normal levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Minimising Risk of Bone Fractures
Vitamin D is particularly important to the health of people with a high risk of bone fractures, such as the elderly and individuals with cerebral palsy. Daily vitamin D3 supplementation of 5000 IU may be an effective way to ensure that individuals at risk of bone fractures achieve optimal vitamin D status for bone health. A 2003 study concluded that in elderly nursing home residents, daily vitamin D3 dosage of 5000 IU via fortified food resulted in improved bone density, which is important for preventing fractures. A 2002 study investigating the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in minimising bone fractures among South African cerebral palsy patients in residential care concluded that three months of daily vitamin D administration of 5000 IU resulted in markedly less bone fractures among said patients.
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- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Human Serum 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol Response to Extended Oral Dosing with Cholecalciferol
- Mayo Clinic: Vitamin D
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Long-Term Effects of Giving Nursing Home Residents Bread Fortified with 125 lg (5000 IU) Vitamin D3 Per Daily Serving
- Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology: Pathological Long-Bone Fractures in Residents with Cerebral Palsy in a Long-Term Care Facility in South Africa