Osteoporosis International

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 713-716

First online:

Estimates of optimal vitamin D status

  • Bess Dawson-HughesAffiliated withBone Metabolism Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University Email author 
  • , Robert P. HeaneyAffiliated withCreighton University
  • , Michael F. HolickAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology, Boston University School of Medicine
  • , Paul LipsAffiliated withDepartment of Endocrinology, VU University Medical Center
  • , Pierre J. MeunierAffiliated withFaculty R Laennec
  • , Reinhold ViethAffiliated withDepartment of Nutritional Sciences, Medicine and Pathobiology Laboratory, University of TorontoThe Bone and Mineral and Laboratory, Mt. Sinai Hospital

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Vitamin D has captured attention as an important determinant of bone health, but there is no common definition of optimal vitamin D status. Herein, we address the question: What is the optimal circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] for the skeleton? The opinions of the authors on the minimum level of serum 25(OH)D that is optimal for fracture prevention varied between 50 and 80 nmol/l. However, for five of the six authors, the minimum desirable 25(OH)D concentration clusters between 70 and 80 nmol/l. The authors recognize that the average older man and woman will need intakes of at least 20 to 25 mcg (800 to 1,000 IU) per day of vitamin D3 to reach a serum 25(OH)D level of 75 nmol/l. Based on the available evidence, we believe that if older men and women maintain serum levels of 25(OH)D that are higher than the consensus median threshold of 75 nmol/l, they will be at lower risk of fracture.


Older men and women Serum level of 25(OH)D Vitamin D status