Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Most Americans Get Enough Vitamin D

Study Shows 24% of People in U.S. Are at Risk for Inadequate Blood Levels of Vitamin D
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 30, 2011 -- Two-thirds of Americans are getting enough vitamin D, according to a new analysis by researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Vitamin D is often called the "sunshine vitamin" because our bodies make it when exposed to sunlight. It is found in some fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and in cheese and eggs. It is often added to milk.

In recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host of diseases and conditions, including brittle bones, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases.

The analysis shows that from 2001 to 2006, 67% of Americans age 1 or older had blood levels of vitamin D that fell between 50 to 125 nanomoles per liter, which is considered adequate. Another 24% were at risk for inadequate levels of vitamin D, with blood levels of 30 to 49 nmol/L; 8% were at risk of deficiency, which is defined as less than 30 nmol/L. Just 1% of the population has blood levels that were too high.

In November 2010, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel called for a modest increase in vitamin D, raising the recommended daily intake to 600 international units (IU) for everyone aged 1-70 and to 800 IU for adults older than 70 to improve bone health

In the study, those who were at the lowest risk for vitamin D deficiency or inadequacy were children, males, non-Hispanic whites, and women who were pregnant or breastfeeding. The risk of deficiency was lowest in children ages 1 to 8 and increased with age until about age 30, the study showed.

The analysis was based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys that includes about 5,000 Americans each year.

Assessing Risk of Low Vitamin D

"Risk of inadequacy doesn't mean everyone in this range is inadequate; just that the probability starts to rise,” says Catharine Ross, PhD, professor and Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair of the department of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, in an email. Ross was the chair of the IOM panel that issued the recent recommendations.

Vitamins and
Lifestyle Guide

Which Nutrients
Are You Missing?

Learn More

Today on WebMD

vitamin rich groceries
Do you know your vitamin ABCs?
St Johns wart
Ease hot flashes and other symptoms.
Are you getting enough?
Take your medication
Wonder pill or overkill?
fruits and vegetables
Woman sleeping
Woman staring into space with coffee

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.