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Vitamin D is essential for bone development during adolescence and low vitamin D status during this critical period of growth may impact bone mineralization, potentially reducing peak bone mass and consequently increasing the risk of osteoporosis in adulthood. Therefore, the high prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and deficiency in adolescent populations is of great concern. However, there is currently a lack of consensus on the 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration, the widely accepted biomarker of vitamin D status, that defines adequacy, and the vitamin D intake requirements to maintain various 25(OH)D thresholds are not well established.
While the current intake recommendations of 10-15μg/day may be sufficient to prevent vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D<25-30nmol/l), greater intakes may be needed to achieve the higher threshold levels proposed to represent adequacy (25(OH)D>50nmol/l). This review will address these concerns and consider if the current dietary recommendations for vitamin D in adolescents are sufficient.