What are the vitamin D requirements for teens?

The vitamin D requirement for teens, which also applies to adults up to age 70, is 600 international units (IUs) per day. Vitamin D is especially important for teens because it helps the body absorb calcium. Together with calcium, vitamin D is vital to building and maintaining strong bones.

There are three ways for teens (and everyone) to get vitamin D:
  • Through supplements
  • From foods such as fatty fish and eggs, and fortified products including some orange juice, milk and breakfast cereals
  • By going outside; the body makes vitamin D from sunlight that penetrates the deeper layers of the skin
Talk to your teen's doctor about the best ways for her to meet her vitamin D needs.
To meet minimum nutritional requirements, teens need to consume at least four glasses of fortified low or non-fat milk daily or its dietary equivalent. Other foods rich in vitamin D include: salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified cereals.

"A vitamin supplement containing 400 IU of vitamin D is another alternative," said pediatrician Sandy Saintonge, MD. "We should also consider a national fortification strategy, perhaps including routine supplementation and monitoring of serum levels, but more research is needed to determine optimal vitamin D levels."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.