total vitamin D exposure (endogenous synthesis and diet including supplements). Although estimates of vitamin D intake appear to be less than needed to meet requirements, the serum 25OHD data available—when coupled with the committee’s assessment of serum 25OHD levels consistent with EAR and RDA values—suggest that requirements are being met for most if not all persons in both countries. Moreover, the possibility of risk for subpopulations of concern due to reduced synthesis of vitamin D, such as persons with dark skin or older persons in institutions, is minimized given the assumption of minimal sun exposure as a basis for the DRIs.
Serum levels of 25OHD have been used as a measure of adequacy for vitamin D, as they reflect intake from the diet coupled with the amount contributed by cutaneous synthesis. The cut-point levels of serum 25OHD intended to specify deficiency for the purposes of interpreting laboratory analyses and for use in clinical practice are not specifically within the charge to this committee. However, the committee noted with some concern that serum 25OHD cut-points defined as indicative of deficiency for vitamin D have not undergone a systematic, evidence-based development process.
From this committee’s perspective, a considerable over-estimation of the levels of vitamin D deficiency in the North American population now exists due to the use by some of cut-points for serum 25OHD levels that greatly exceed the levels identified in this report as consistent with the available data. Early reports specified a serum 25OHD concentration of at least 27.5 nmol/L (11 ng/mL) as an indicator of vitamin D adequacy from birth through 18 years of age, and a concentration of at least 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL) as an indicator of vitamin D adequacy for adults 19 to 50 years of age. In recent years, others have suggested different cut-points as determinants of deficiency and what has been termed “insufficiency.” In the current literature, these include values ranging from less than 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) to values above 125 nmol/L (50 ng/mL). Use of higher than appropriate cut-points for serum 25OHD levels would be expected to artificially increase the estimates of the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.
The specification of cut-points for serum 25OHD levels has serious ramifications not only for the conclusions about vitamin D nutriture and nutrition public policy, but also for clinical practice. At this time, there is no central body that is responsible for establishing such values for clinical use. This committee’s review of data suggests that persons are at risk of deficiency relative to bone health at serum 25OHD levels of below 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL). Some, but not all, persons are potentially at risk for