Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 183, Issue 3, pp 485–487 | Cite as

The double-edged sword of vitamin D in Ireland: the need for public health awareness about too much as well as too little

  • M. T. Kilbane
  • M. O’Keane
  • M. Morrin
  • M. Flynn
  • M. J. McKenna
Brief Report



The Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011 on dietary references intakes for calcium and vitamin D specified that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) level below 30 nmol/L indicated risk of deficiency and that a level above 125 nmol/L indicated risk of harm.


We noted a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D (23.9 %) and a substantive prevalence of hypervitaminosis D (4.8 %) in a retrospective audit of clinical samples (n = 10,181) obtained over 10 months in 2013.


Hypovitaminosis D should be corrected by low dose supplementation (5 µg or 200 IU daily) with some at-risk groups needing higher doses (10 µg or 400 IU daily) based on 25OHD levels. Whereas, those taking high-dose vitamin D supplements based on mistaken beliefs about recently authorised claims of benefit for muscle function and misleading unauthorised claims need to be alerted to the potential harms of excessive supplementation.


Vitamin D Institute of Medicine Audit 


Conflict of interest

Dr. Kilbane has nothing to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. T. Kilbane
    • 1
  • M. O’Keane
    • 1
  • M. Morrin
    • 1
  • M. Flynn
    • 2
  • M. J. McKenna
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Metabolism LaboratorySt. Vincent’s University HospitalDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Food Safety Authority of IrelandDublin 1Ireland
  3. 3.School of Medicine and Medical ScienceUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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