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Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy

Evaluation of tolerable upper intake levels for vitamin D in children and adolescents

Report no: 2014: 01

Ordered: 15.05.2014

Published: 13.06.2014

Main message:

The Norwegian food Safety Authority (NFSA) has requested the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) to evaluate the platform of knowledge used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to set the tolerable upper intake levels for vitamin D in children and adolescents.

The reason is that NFSA is currently revising the national regulation of maximum limits in food supplements (not yet harmonised in the European Economic Area (EEA)), including maximum limits for vitamin D.

In 2012, EFSA suggested a new tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D in humans. 

EFSA suggested a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D of 100 µg/day for adults based on the risk of hypercalcaemia. EFSA concluded that consumption of up to 50 µg/day does not lead to hypercalcaemia in children and adolescents (10-17 years).

Furthermore, EFSA stated that there is no reason to assume that children and adolescents in the phase of rapid bone formation and growth have a lower tolerance for vitamin D compared to adults, and a UL of 100 µg/day for adolescents aged 11-17 years and 50 µg/day in children 1-10 years, taking the smaller body size into account was proposed.

VKM was requested to evaluate the scientific evidence for these upper intake levels. No studies supporting a higher tolerance to vitamin D in children and adolescents due to rapid bone formation and growth were retrieved in the literature search. 

Moreover, there is apparently no firm association between bone formation and vitamin D levels in children during their growth period into adolescence and adulthood. No studies investigating high intakes of vitamin D in children 1-10 years were found. Furthermore, no studies that have examined safety issues and/or adverse effects of vitamin D supplementation in doses above 50 µg/day in adolescents were identified. 

It can therefore not be concluded that the UL at 50 µg/day in children (1-10 years) and 100 µg/day in adolescents (11-17 years) is safe. 

The Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy is responsible for the evaluation.

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