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How Much Vitamin D Should You Take Daily

Vitamin D: The Healthy Aging Dose

How Much Vitamin D Should I Take?

by Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH

Confused by all the back and forth in the media about vitamin D?

Dont be. Theres actually a pretty easy and straightforward approach that most older adults can take.

In this post, Ill explain what I recommend to most of my older patients, and why.

Ill also address the following frequently asked questions:

  • Which type of Vitamin D should I take?
  • Do I need to have my vitamin D blood level checked?
  • What should ones vitamin D level be?
  • Will vitamin D really prevent falls or fractures?
  • Will vitamin D prevent dementia, cancer, and/or premature death?
  • I am outside a lot. Do I need a vitamin D supplement?
  • I heard that a higher level of vitamin D is better for you. How much is too much?

By the way, Im updating this post in part because I was disappointed by the recent NY Times article Why Are So Many People Popping Vitamin D?

Among other things, this article should have had a different headline. The key problem the article describes is that there are too many people being tested for vitamin D. The article does not make the case that too many people are taking vitamin D supplements.

In fact, vitamin D supplementation remains recommended by experts. And as Ill explain below, there are good reasons to believe that vitamin D supplementation is especially useful for older adults.

Now, I do agree with the article in that many people seem to have unrealistic expectations of what vitamin D can do for them.

How Much Vitamin D Should I Take Per Day

According to Harvard Nutrition Source, we should all be aiming for the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin D. For adults aged over 19 years old, this is 600 IU daily and for adults over the age of 70, its 800 IU daily. But the maximum daily intake unlike to cause harmful effects on the health is 4000 IU, so those lacking in the essential nutrient might consider topping up with vitamins matching this level.

To put this into context, the average IU of standard vitamin D tablets is 1000 IU. This means that whatever the personal recommendation for intake of vitamin D is, a standard vitamin D tablet such as that bought in the supermarket or health food shop, should do the job.

Its not only for immune support that experts recommend vitamin D, however. Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption and is required for healthy bone and cartilage development and maintenance. It can also help support healthy muscle function and circulation too.LloydsPharmacy pharmacist, Pareena Patel tells us. Its a vitamin which is essential for babies, children, adults and the elderly alike. It is important to take a supplement which has the right intake for the individual. For example, babies should not be taking the same supplement as adults and vice-versa, as too much vitamin D can have a detrimental effect.

When To See A Doctor

Having a vitamin D deficiency could be caused by or cause serious health conditions. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones. A deficiency can lead to inadequate calcium absorption that can cause osteoporosis, osteopenia, or rickets in children.

Rickets can be serious for childrens bone health because it causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. Osteomalacia is the same condition but for adults, which sometimes leads to falls and broken bones that are hard to heal. With osteoporosis, bones become thinner and are therefore more likely to break or cause posture issues.

Sometimes, being deficient in vitamin D isnt just caused by not getting enough sunshine. Certain health conditions affect how the body absorbs or processes the vitamin. Kidney and liver diseases can lower the amount of an enzyme that the body needs to use vitamin D. Celiac disease, Crohns disease, and cystic fibrosis all cause the intestines to absorb less vitamin D. Even being overweight can lead to a deficiency because fat cells store vitamin D, keeping it from being easily used.

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Vitamin D And Covid: Does It Help

At the start of the pandemic there was a lot of buzz around whether vitamin D could be helpful for preventing or treating coronavirus.

But in a review of existing research, published in December 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence , Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition concluded there was ‘little evidence for using vitamin D supplements to prevent or treat Covid-19’.

However, we do know that vitamin D is important for our bone, muscle and immune health and that it’s common for people to be deficient in the UK something likely to have been exacerbated by long periods of lockdown and limits on movement, so it’s still important to ensure you get enough.

Video – Vitamin D and Covid: expert view

We spoke to Martin Hewison, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham, and specialist in vitamin D research, to find out how vitamin D helps your immune system:

The best reusable face masks and coverings we reveal the masks that filter efficiently, are breathable and comfortable to wear

Effects Of Taking Too Much Vitamin D

How Much Vitamin D

Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body . This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day is enough for most people.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.

Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.

Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, talk to your GP.

Follow the advice of your GP if they recommend that you take a different amount of vitamin D.

You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

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How Ethnicity May Affect Your Need For Vitamin D

People who live in colder climates generally need more vitamin D than those who live closer to the equator, but among all geographic locations, people with darker skin tones often need more of the vitamin than those with lighter skin. Indeed, people with highly pigmented skin who live in cold climates are considered to be at a particularly high risk of vitamin D deficiency, according to a study published in June 2017 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 31404-4/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 13)

Observationally, weve seen that people of African descent and people of Middle Eastern descent also need more vitamin D to achieve optimum levels, Foroutan says.

Vitamin D Respiratory Infections And Covid

UK scientists warn that you should not take high levels of vitamin D, to prevent or treat COVID-19.

In a publication in the journal Nutrients, the authors reviewed the current medical evidence and suggest that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of influenza, COVID-19, and deaths.

The authors present evidence to suggest that higher levels of vitamin D in the population will reduce the risk of acute respiratory tract infections including influenza, COVID-19, and pneumonia. They suggest additional vitamin D should be started now, to raise levels before the onset of the winter.

The authors are suggesting a higher vitamin D dosing regime than is currently recommended in the UK. They also comment that people on vitamin D supplements should also consider taking additional magnesium because magnesium helps activate vitamin D.

However, caution is needed. The available evidence comes from observational studies only, and these do not prove causation. High levels of vitamin D can be harmful.

PHE have recommended we all take a low dose vitamin D supplement to ensure adequate vitamin D levels for our general health.

If there is an additional benefit for COVID-19 or other respiratory infections, this would be a bonus.

This new NHS advice, for the general public to take daily vitamin D supplements, is endorsed, for example, by The British Nutrition Foundation, The Nutrition Society, and the Royal Osteoporosis Society.

For more information

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How Do You Check Your Vitamin D Level

A vitamin D test is a blood test. During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.

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How Much Vitamin D Do I Need? SURPRISING

While anyone can suffer with a vitamin D deficiency, according to one study, there are some who are more at risk than others due to lifestyle, culture, age and many other factors. For example, one study conducted in Iran found that women were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than men because of the clothing they wear. Similarly, those in built-up cities tend to suffer more as the infrastructure limits the amount of sun that passes through the population.

Others known to lack in the essential nutrient include those over the age of 70, people who spend large amounts of time inside and those who avoid foods high in the essential vitamin, such as fish, eggs, mushrooms and some types of dairy.

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How Long Does It Take To Correct A Vitamin D Deficiency

To correct a deficiency, the Endocrine Society suggests that the deficient person has 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 once a week for eight weeks or alternatively, 6000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. This will increase the level of vitamin D3 in the blood, which should correct the deficiency.

Uta Boellinger, from nutritional coach Aiverley, agrees with this. She says that it depends how low your levels are to start with, Most commonly a higher dose is required for six to eight weeks.

So its fairly easy to correct with suitable intervention and its a good job too, since lacking in vitamin D is very common and in fact, its estimated that 1 billion people around the world are vitamin D deficient. This means, also, that it takes more than sunshine and nutrient-rich food to correct a vitamin deficiency so check out these supplements to get started. If in doubt, however, and you feel that a vitamin D deficiency is seriously affecting your life then the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to assess the personal situation and run tests to ensure this is actually what the problem is, as some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are also that of more serious conditions.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin D

Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body . This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.

Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.

Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.

If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.

You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

Page last reviewed: 03 August 2020 Next review due: 03 August 2023

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How Much Vitamin D Can You Take A Day If You Are Deficient

If youre taking a vitamin D supplement, you probably dont need more than 600 to 800 IU per day, which is adequate for most people. Some people may need a higher dose, however, including those with a bone health disorder and those with a condition that interferes with the absorption of vitamin D or calcium, says Dr.

How Does Vitamin D Affect Womens Health

Your Vitamin D Requirements are VASTLY Higher Than You Think

Sometimes a little bit of sunshine is the best medicine. A walk in the park or a bike ride probably puts you in a good mood, and a moderate amount of sun is also good for your physical health. While youre outside soaking up rays, your body is busy making vitamin D. Thats good news, because this hormone thats boosted by exposure to sunlight plays an important role in womens health.

We have known for a long time about vitamin Ds critical role in bone health. More recently, though, vitamin D has been linked to having a potential role in a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disease.

Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, explains why vitamin D is important for womens health and how to make sure youre getting enough.

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How To Store Your Vitamin D Supplements

Store the supplements out of the reach of young children.

The supplements should be kept away from pets. Consult with a vet if you are concerned that your pet has consumed any of the vitamin D supplements provided.

Check the product seal is still in place on delivery and do not take the supplements if the seal has been broken.

How Much Vitamin D Should Be Taken To Help To Boost The Immune System

When taking a Vitamin D supplement, knowing the dosage you should be taking can help you to understand whether youre taking too much or too little.

Guidelines from Public Health England state that anyone above the age of four should take a minimum of 10 micrograms daily and children aged between one and four years old should have a 10 microgram daily supplement. In addition, babies under the age of one should have an 8.5 to 10 microgram supplement as a precaution to ensure they get enough Vitamin D.

People who are unable to obtain adequate exposure to sunshine regularly and ethnic minority groups with dark skin are advised to take some form of supplement regularly all year round. You can find out more about at-risk groups in our guide.

Vitamin D requirements can vary widely depending on where you live and your lifestyle. Its important to remember that 4000 IUs is advised as the daily upper limit for Vitamin D intake.

Taking too much Vitamin D can cause a calcium build-up and lead to weak bones, kidneys and heart damage.

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What Causes Vitamin D Toxicity

Vitamin D toxicity is almost always the result of excess supplementation. Because your body regulates vitamin D production, you are unlikely to develop it as a result of sun exposure . Foods generally do not contain large amounts of vitamin D, so getting an excessive amount in your diet is unlikely.

People may begin taking vitamin D supplements in order to address a deficiency or to help relieve symptoms of things like seasonal affective disorder or depression. The problem is that they may go overboard or think that taking more will produce more beneficial effects.

What Are Good Sources Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D: Should You Supplement? How Much?

You can get your vitamin D daily dosage from three main sources: the sun, food, and supplements. While you can spend 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen every day to increase your vitamin D intake, you might be worried about damaging UV rays. Thats why its important to ensure your diet includes plenty of vitamin D-rich foods. Good sources include fatty fish, cod liver oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms, as well as vitamin D-fortified foods . Finally, taking a vitamin D supplement can fill in any nutritional gaps.

Learn More: How Much Vitamin D Do You Get from the Sun?

The Bottom Line

Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone health, muscle functioning, and immunity. But with up to 40% of U.S. adults having a vitamin D deficiency, you might be wondering, How much vitamin D should I take? The daily dosage depends on a variety of factors , but in general, its recommended that most adults take 15mcg or 600 IU of vitamin D per day.

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.

Learn More About Vitamins & Supplements:

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice or a recommendation for any specific product. Consult your health care provider for more information.

References

Also Check: How Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements

How Much Of Vitamin D3 Should You Take Daily

How much of vitamin d3 should you take daily? Vitamin D recommended intake is at 400800 IU/day or 1020 micrograms. However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1,0004,000 IU is needed to maintain optimal blood levels.

Is 50mg of vitamin D3 too much? Ideally, you want to maintain your vitamin D levels between 30 to 50 ng/mL. Vitamin D increases how much calcium is absorbed by the gut. So one reason too much vitamin D is dangerous is because it can cause high calcium levels.

Can I take 5000 IU of vitamin D3 everyday? In summary, long-term supplementation with vitamin D3 in doses ranging from 5000 to 50,000 IUs/day appears to be safe.

Can I take 10000 IU of D3 daily? The Endocrine Society Practice Guidelines recommend that up to 10,000 IUs daily was safe for adults. This is in contrast to the recommended UL at 4,000 IU/d from the IOM.

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