In this section
Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health. Vitamin D refers to both D3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol) - D3 is produced in the skin through the action of UVB in sunlight, it is the most common form in food and the form available in supplements (see photoboard). Mushrooms contain small amounts of D2.
Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D, and is estimated to provide 90% of vitamin D in humans.1
Diet is usually a poor source of vitamin D most Australians only get around 10% of their vitamin D from dietary sources.3
25(OH)D is used to measure vitamin D status. The recommended 25(OH)D level is >= 50 nmol/L at all ages and during pregnancy/lactation.
In the absence of sun exposure, recommended intakes are:4
In infants: exclusive breastfeeding AND any of - above risk factors, maternal vitamin D deficiency (cord levels ~65% maternal levels)5 or prematurity.
Refugee-background communities may have multiple risk factors for low vitamin D, e.g. dark skin, covering clothing and limited time outside.
In exclusively breastfed infants with at least one other risk factor it is usually more practical to start supplements without screening. Consider checking levels (or adding daily supplements) in babies with risk factors for low vitamin D with mixed feeds or who have appropriately reduced their formula intake after starting solids. See photoboard
400 IU daily
400-600 IU daily, OR 3000-4000 IU once weekly, OR 150,000 IU at the start of Autumn