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Pediatr Res. 2015 Feb;77(2):370-5. doi: 10.1038/pr.2014.190. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

Importance of body weight and skin color in determining appropriate vitamin D3 supplement doses for children and adolescents.

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Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York.



Deficiencies in vitamin D directly impact children's health and place minority and obese youth at risk for a range of health issues. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium has set both a recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D supplementation and a population-wide sufficiency target for the biomarker of vitamin D status, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D). However, new research suggests that the RDA is not sufficient to meet the target biomarker status for individuals who are heavy or who have dark skin. Our objective was to provide appropriate daily vitamin D supplementation levels for these individuals.


Using data derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and a recently published dosing formula, we calculated the required supplemental dose of vitamin D to meet the IOM target in children and adolescents.


To be sure that 95% of the target population meets the IOM's population-wide biomarker target, some individuals require a daily dose of up to 2,000 international units (IUs) of supplemental vitamin D.


Health professionals should work with their patients to encourage lifelong vitamin D supplement use at a dosage sufficient to obtain adequate 25(OH)D levels.

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