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ODS Vitamin D Initiative

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Table of Contents


The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) leads and sponsors several efforts to advance scientific understanding of the importance of vitamin D to health. These efforts have included:

  • measurement of vitamin D levels in foods;
  • assessment of vitamin D status of the U.S. population;
  • development of a reference measurement procedure and standard reference materials to precisely measure this nutrient;
  • systematic review of scientific literature used in updating the vitamin D recommended dietary allowances and safe levels of intake; and
  • an international effort to standardize measurement of serum vitamin D levels in populations around the world (see Vitamin D Standardization Program)

ODS also sponsors conferences and workshops on vitamin D and leads a federal working group on this nutrient to identify and help meet research needs.

ODS Vitamin D Fact Sheets

ODS has vitamin D fact sheets in two versions—Health Professional and Consumer. The Consumer version is available in both English and Spanish.

Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP)

As part of its Vitamin D Initiative, the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) established the Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) in November 2010. VDSP is an international collaborative effort to standardize the laboratory measurement of vitamin D status. The VDSP goal is to improve the detection, evaluation, and treatment of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency by promoting the standardized laboratory measurement of serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] by making it accurate and comparable over time, location, and laboratory procedure.

This collaboration involves the coordinated efforts of ODS; the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS); the College of American Pathologists (CAP); the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC); the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC); the Laboratory for Analytical Chemistry; Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; plus national surveys and collaborators around the world. Since the inception of this program, ODS has enlisted the participation of national health surveys from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

A public meeting to showcase the VDSP’s progress since 2010 was held on the NIST campus on November 14, 2013. See information about the meeting, including the presentations.

Vitamin D Resources for Researchers

We've collected useful vitamin D resources from our office and other federal government offices to provide to researchers, including our Vitamin D Health Professional Fact Sheet, NIH conference proceedings, Standard Reference Material®, evidence-based reviews, and other publications.

Conference Proceedings

Standard Reference Material®

Evidence-based Reviews

  • Vitamin D and Calcium: Systematic Review of Health Outcomesexternal link disclaimer
    August 2009
    Chung M, Balk E, Brendel M, Ip S, Lau J, Lee J, Lichtenstein A, Patel K, Raman G, Tatsioni A, Terasawa T, Trikalinos T. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 183. (Prepared by: Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center, Boston, MA under Contract No. 290-2007-10055-I) AHRQ Publication No. 07-E015, Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  • Effectiveness and Safety of Vitamin D in Relation to Bone Healthexternal link disclaimer
    August 2007
    Cranney A, Horsely T, O'Donnell S, Weiler H, Puil L, Ooi D, Atkinson S, Ward L, Moher D, Hanley D, Fang M, Yazdi F, Garrity C, Sampson M, Barrowman N, Tsertsvadze A, Mamaladze V. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 158. (Prepared by Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, Ottawa, Canada under Contract No. 290-02-0021). AHRQ Publication No. 07-E013, Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Other Publications

Other Federal Government Resources on Vitamin D