by Melissa Chichester
Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” plays many important roles in the body. It helps maintain a healthy immune system, supports bone health, and plays an important role in the absorption of calcium.* Unfortunately, it can be difficult for some to get the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D from foods unless they are fortified, but small amounts of Vitamin D are present in some fatty fish, like salmon.
We depend on the sun to get Vitamin D, and some populations struggle with getting enough sunlight to maintain healthy levels.
It is essential to get the proper amount of Vitamin D during every stage of your life to maintain bone health and more.*
The amount you need depends on your age, from childhood to later in life. Let’s explore the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D that the National Institutes of Health recommends by age.
Male and female infants should each receive 400 IU daily, which is considered an adequate amount. Babies need Vitamin D to support the growth and development of strong and healthy bones and teeth. If you are concerned about your baby receiving adequate amounts of Vitamin D, it is recommended to discuss this with a pediatrician.
The next phase of life, childhood until puberty, requires an increase of Vitamin D to at least 600 IU per day. Many children play outside and achieve this easily through sunshine; however, children who live in northern climates or who spend a lot of time indoors might have trouble receiving enough VItamin D. This amount includes males and females.
Whoa! This is a big age range, but the amount of recommended Vitamin D within this age range is still 600 IU per day for each gender, according to the NIH. This amount also includes the recommendation for pregnant women. Although it may seem easy – just get your 600 IU daily! – in reality, it is a lot more complicated. There are many challenges to getting enough Vitamin D throughout your life. Populations that are more prone to deficiency include:
After the age of 70, adults should consume or receive at least 800 IU of Vitamin D per day. Unfortunately, many people in this age group are deficient in Vitamin D due to limited sun exposure.
Supplements, a healthy diet, and sun exposure can all help to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels. If you are concerned about deficiency, your personal healthcare practitioner can order a Vitamin D blood test. 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered an adequate level of Vitamin D, while less than 12 ng/ML represents a deficiency.