I live in France. Babies are supposed to be given 3 droplets of a vitamin D supplement that amounts to 3x330 IU = 1000IU. The baby formula amounts (hopefully I did not mix up units) to roughly 400IU, so in total 1400IU. I've read on US websites that the daily needs for a baby of this age are 400IU of Vitamin D.

Giving that much Vitamin D supplements to any baby seems to be the standard guideline in France (independently on bottle or breastfeeding).

Am I overlooking something (different units in US than in France, different type of measurement... don't know) or is the French guideline really by a factor > 3 higher than the US one? Is it harmful to give such a high dose? Where does this large difference in the guidelines stem from?

Thank you in advance.

Reference: The supplement leaflet makes reference to this governmental text from 1971: Prévention du rachitisme. Circulaires de la Direction générale de la Santé du 21 février 1963 et du 6 janvier1971(extraits)

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    Have a look at the paragraph following Table 2. ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 17:33
  • Thanks for your edits; it would help to make your question more self-contained if you would accompany statements like "Babies are supposed to be given" with the specific source and a brief quote that goes along with it. I'm assuming you're not using guidelines from 1971 so it doesn't seem that reference is very relevant or useful.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 16:08
  • We also can't really help you figure out whether you've screwed up units or are misinterpreting guidance for care of your own child: those are questions for their pediatrician, not for us, so we'll want to focus on the guidelines specifically (hence the focus on the specific references and the specific guidelines, rather than your impressions/interpretations of them).
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 16:09
  • 1
    @Bryan Krause: I feel myself confirmed that France could have updated the 1971 guidelines much earlier, like most Western countries did. I honestly don't understand why you are so aggressive. Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 21:08
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    This paper might help provide some context/history, too: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0929693X1100577X it's older than any 2022 changes you're referring to but it discusses the 1971 recommendations, changes since then including adding vitamin D directly to formula, additional research and outcomes both with the 400 IU guideline as well as in France, and an updated guideline as of 2011.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


The official guidelines in France have recently been updated (my question dates back to December 2020).

The report "Les références nutritionnelles en vitamines et minéraux", Avis de l’Anses, Rapport d’expertise collective by the "Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail" (ANSES) from March 2021 states in the conclusions on vitamin D on page 96 that for babies 0-12 months a supplemental dose of 10 µg/day is advised which corresponds in Internation Units to 400 IU, briging it inline with recommendations in other countries.

Table 68 in the same report states that the "Limite supérieure de sécurité" (Upper safety limit) is 25 µg/day (which corresponds to 1000 IU, the previous recommendation given in France until at least 2020, but which unfortunately would be often exceeded by the sum of the prescribed supplement in addition to the supplements in baby milk formula).

Regarding side-effects of an overdose, the report cited above says: "Pour les nourrissons, l’Efsa s’est fondée sur des données relatives à une perturbation de la croissance et à l’hypercalcémie pour définir une LSS de 25 μg/j.", that is, "For infants, Efsa [European Food Safety Agency] relied on data relating to growth disturbance and hypercalcemia and hypercalcemia to define a USL of 25 μg/d."

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