Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D intakes above current recommendations may be associated with better health outcomes. However, optimal serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] have not been defined. This review summarizes evidence from studies that evaluated thresholds for serum 25(OH)D concentrations in relation to bone mineral density (BMD), lower-extremity function, dental health, and risk of falls, fractures, and colorectal cancer. For all endpoints, the most advantageous serum concentrations of 25(OH)D begin at 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL), and the best are between 90 and 100 nmol/L (36-40 ng/mL). In most persons, these concentrations could not be reached with the currently recommended intakes of 200 and 600 IU vitamin D/d for younger and older adults, respectively. A comparison of vitamin D intakes with achieved serum concentrations of 25(OH)D for the purpose of estimating optimal intakes led us to suggest that, for bone health in younger adults and all studied outcomes in older adults, an increase in the currently recommended intake of vitamin D is warranted. An intake for all adults of > or =1000 IU (25 microg) [DOSAGE ERROR CORRECTED] vitamin D (cholecalciferol)/d is needed to bring vitamin D concentrations in no less than 50% of the population up to 75 nmol/L. The implications of higher doses for the entire adult population should be addressed in future studies.