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Vitamin D Recommendations “Deficient”
Why the RDA for vitamin D is too low

When the IOM published their 2010 Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium and vitamin D, they raised their recommended daily allowance for vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU. While an increase of any sort was certainly better than nothing, many physicians, researchers, and organizations were quick to express their dissatisfaction with this low RDA. A multitude of research and review articles disagreeing with the IOM’s recommendations have since been published.

Dr Holick (the man who discovered, among other things, the form of vitamin D used today to test vitamin D levels) and Dr Heaney co-authored one such article. Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in 2011, the article, titled “Why the IOM recommendations for vitamin D are deficient,” does an excellent job of cleanly laying out the problems with the IOM’s RDA for vitamin D.

Arguably the most important point they made was in looking at the basis of the IOM’s recommendations; the RDA is based entirely on vitamin D’s skeletal benefits. That makes the RDA completely useless to those who are aware of the growing body of research connecting high vitamin D levels with a myriad of other health benefits (cognitive, cardiac, muscular, and so on) — and perhaps worse than useless to those who are not so aware.

However, even from the perspective of one who is only concerned about skeletal health, the IOM’s recommendations fall short. Holick and Healey succinctly critique a number of the research interpretations and methods used by the IOM to reach their vitamin D RDA.

The full article can be read for free online.


1: Heaney, R. P., & Holick, M. F. (2011). Why the IOM recommendations for vitamin D are deficient. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 26(3), 455-457.