The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in 2010, put forth its recommendations for daily supplementation of vitamin D. They suggested that infants under a year old ingest 400 IU per day, that adults ingest 600 IU per day and that those over 70 years of age take 800 IU per day. Since the sunlight can stimulate the production of up to 20,000 IU per day, it can easily be seen that such recommendations are abysmally low for those addults who are not receiving any sunlight, or where winter conditions prevent any vitamin D production by the sun.
The Vitamin D Society (VDS) of Canada has just posted a press release that illustrates the incongruity of the IOM recommendations based on weight. Perry Holman, Executive Director of the Society, correctly points out that it is counterintuitive to recommend so much more vitamin D per pound to an infant than an adult. The IOM recommendations would provide a 10-pound baby 40 units of vitamin D per pound, whereas a 200-pound adult would receive only 3 IU per pound. Vitamin D scientists suggest that 1000 IU for every 25 pounds of bodyweight is best, so why should the IOM be so prejudicial as to allow adults only about one-thirteenth the amount of vitamin D per pound as an infant? These are supposed to be intelligent people, no?
In reality, The IOM recommendation of 400 IU is right on target for the 10-pound infant, considering the recommendation of the vitamin D scientists for 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of bodyweight. The problem lies in the fact that for the other two age groups, it is woefully inadequate. Thanks to Perry Holman and the VDS for pointing out the lack of consistency and clear thinking on the part of the IOM.
And remember, we do not need to worry about any of this nonsense if we simply get out in the summer sun, or, when sunlight is not available, use some other source of UVB light to produce our vitamin D. The body will self-regulate its production, and we will never need to worry about how many units are necessary. Just remember never to burn either the infant or the adult! Moderation and common sense is the key.