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Vitamin D: criteria for safety and efficacy

Robert P Heaney
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00102.x S178-S181 First published online: 1 October 2008


The functional status indicator for vitamin D, for both safety and efficacy, is serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration. Efficacy for several health endpoints requires levels of 80 nmol/L or higher. Toxicity occurs at levels of 500 nmol/L or higher. The input needed for efficacy, in addition to typical food and cutaneous inputs, will usually be 1000–2000 IU/day of supplemental cholecalciferol. Toxicity is associated only with excessive supplemental intake (usually well above 20,000 IU/day).

  • calcium absorption
  • cancer
  • falls
  • fractures
  • hypercalcemia
  • immune function
  • insulin response
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