IOM releases new dietary recommendations for calcium, vitamin D intakes

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released new dietary recommendations for calcium and vitamin D intakes, known as Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), used broadly by health professionals and policy makers to guide consumers' dietary patterns. Citing a strong body of new scientific evidence, the IOM based their recommendations on bone health outcomes, confirming the importance of vitamin D and calcium in promoting bone growth and maintenance through various stages of life. It is imperative for consumers to get adequate amounts of these essential nutrients every day, preferably through foods.  

Specifically, the committee recommended daily calcium intakes, or Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), ranging from 700 to 1300 milligrams depending on the bone health needs for each age range and gender, from bone growth and development in children and adolescents to prevention of bone loss in the elderly. The daily calcium recommendations are similar in amounts to previous DRI values. In contrast, vitamin D recommendations significantly increased for all ages. The committee recommended daily vitamin D intakes of 600 international units (IU) for those between the ages of 1-70 years and 800 IU for those older than 70 years, up from previous recommendations of 200-600 IU.

Milk is an efficient, affordable and available food source of these two nutrients and it's important for Americans of all ages to ensure they are meeting their nutrient intake goals through the recommended three daily servings of nutrient-rich dairy foods in their diets (for those older than 9 years of age).

Milk is the number one dietary source of both calcium and vitamin D in the American diet and enjoying dairy foods can play a key role in meeting the new DRIs.  A cup of milk not only provides 300 milligrams of bone-building calcium and 100 IU vitamin D, it also supplies seven other essential nutrients including potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin and niacin (niacin equivalents). Three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk or equivalent vitamin D-fortified milk products daily can provide the majority of calcium and half of vitamin D recommended by the IOM. In addition to milk, some yogurt and cheeses are also fortified with vitamin D. Research supports that the exclusion or avoidance of dairy foods can lead to inadequate intakes of these vital nutrients.

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