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How Much Vitamin D Should You Take In A Day

Why Is Vitamin D Important

How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?

Vitamin D is important for the health of your bones, muscles and teeth. This is because it helps you absorb calcium and phosphorous from food.

A deficiency can cause weakened bones this can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in keeping your immune system functioning properly. This is especially key during winter, when there are more colds and bugs going around.

How Much Vitamin D Should I Take For Optimal Health

Your need for vitamin D goes up if any of these factors apply to you:

  • You know youre already deficient in vitamin D
  • You have dark skin
  • Youre an older adult over 70 . Infants, children and older adults are all at risk for low vitamin D.
  • You spend little time outdoors or always wear sunscreen when exposed to sunlight
  • Youre a shift worker, health care worker or another indoor worker, which means you get little outdoor time and sunlight exposure
  • Youre overweight or obese
  • You are a nursing home resident or hospitalized patient
  • You have a health condition, such as celiac disease, Crohns disease or cystic fibrosis, that interferes with absorption and processing of vitamin D in the intestines, kidneys or liver
  • Breast-fed infants are also at risk for vitamin D deficiency, which is why supplementing is recommended

How much vitamin D should women take per day?

According to the USDA and National Institutes of Health, the standard recommendation of vitamin D that adult women should take in order to prevent deficiency is between 600 to 800 international units per day, depending on age. The exact number is debatable, and some experts feel that a higher dose of vitamin D, around 2,ooo to 5,000 IU per day, may be more beneficial.

How much vitamin D should men take per day?

The standard recommendation for adult men is also between 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day. Adults over 70 should supplement with more, at least 800 IU per day, while younger adults need at least 600 IU daily.

How Often Is Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem. However, it is more common in young women, infants, the elderly, and people with dark skin. About 42% of the U.S. population has vitamin D. However, this level rises to 82% for black people and 70% for Hispanics.

If you have access to the strong sun all year round, then occasional sunlight is not enough to meet your vitamin D. However, if you live too far north or south of the equator your vitamin D levels may change over time. Rates may fall during the winter months, due to a lack of adequate sunlight.

In that case, you need to rely on your diet for vitamin D, as well as for vitamin D which is stored in body fat in the summer.

In adults, vitamin D deficiency can:

  • Create muscle weakness.
  • Intensify bone loss.
  • Increase the risk of cracking.

In children, severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to delays in growth and marketing, a disease in which the bones become weak.

Also, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several cancers, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems.

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Can You Get Enough Vitamin D From The Sun Alone

Some people will be able to get enough vitamin D just from sunlight. However, it depends on where in the world they live, the time of year, the time of day, and their skin color.

People who live nearer the equator get more sun exposure. In the Northern Hemisphere, a person may not get sufficient vitamin D from sunlight during the winter.

The sun is usually strongest between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. In the summer, a person does not need to be out in the sun for very long during this period to make enough vitamin D.

The amount of melanin a persons skin contains affects how much vitamin D they can make. Less melanin results in lighter skin, which does not protect as well against harmful ultraviolet rays.

People with more melanin in their skin have better protection from the sun, but take longer to make vitamin D. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic black people are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.

These varied factors make it difficult to recommend how much sunlight a person should get to make the vitamin D that their body needs.

The Vitamin D Council gives some examples:

  • At noon during summer in Miami, someone with a medium skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 6 minutes.
  • At noon during summer in Boston, someone with a darker skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 2 hours.
Age
  • egg yolk
  • beef liver

Why We Need Vitamin D

How much of Vitamin D should I take?

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet and use these minerals to keep your bones, teeth and muscles strong. This helps prevent falls as you get older.

Vitamin D may have other roles in the bodys immune system and heart health too.A lack of vitamin D can cause bone problems such as rickets in children and muscle weakness and painful or tender bones in adults.

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How Can I Help Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency

The goals of treating and preventing the lack of vitamin D of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach and keep an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to take or keep taking vitamin D supplements. If so, they will also let you know how much you should take. You might also want to consider:

Eating more foods that contain vitamin D: See the vitamin D food sources table included in this article. Keep in mind that foods alone usually don’t meet the daily recommended levels of vitamin D.

Getting some exposure to sunshinebut not too much: Exactly how much sun exposure is needed isnt clear. 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week to the face, arms, legs or back may be all that is needed to absorb a suitable amount of vitamin D. You might need more sun exposure if:

  • You are older.
  • You have a darker skin color.
  • You live in northern climates.

The use of sunscreen, and standing behind a window, prevents vitamin D from being produced in the skin. However, you should remember that too much sunshine increases the risk of skin cancer and ages the skin. That is why taking an appropriately dosed D supplement is far safer than intentionally getting routine sun exposure.

Why Wearing Sunscreen Can Affect Vitamin D Absorption

While wearing sunscreen daily is key to help prevent sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer, this healthy habit can also affect how much vitamin D your skin synthesizes from the sun.

To get your fix, aim to spend 10 to 15 minutes outdoors without sunscreen, Foroutan says. It can help get your levels where they need to be, she says, echoing information from Harvard Health Publishing.

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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.

What Are Good Sources Of Vitamin D

How Much Vitamin D3 Should You Take?

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

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How Much Is Too Much

Many people dont realise that you can have too much of a good thing. In very high doses, many minerals and vitamins can harm your body. Current guidelines say adults shouldnt take more than the equivalent of 100 micrograms a day. But vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so your body can store it for months and you dont need it every day. That means you could equally safely take a supplement of 20 micrograms a day or 500 micrograms once a month. Dont worry your doctor or pharmacist arent trying to poison you! You can divide the monthly dose by 30 to give you the daily equivalent, which is what counts.

Of course, speaking of too much of a good thing, too much sunshine can be disastrous for your health. Any redness or even tanning of your skin is a sign that your skin has been damaged. In spring and summer, you can get your vitamin D from 15 to 20 minutes a day with arms and face uncovered in full sun. But dont get burnt this raises the risk of all kinds of skin cancer, but particularly of deadly melanoma.

How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated

The goals of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. While you might consider eating more foods that contain vitamin D and getting a little bit of sunlight, you will likely be told to take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2, also called ergocalciferol, comes from plants. D3, also called cholecalciferol, comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. It is more easily absorbed than D2 and lasts longer in the body dose-for-dose. Work with your doctor to find out if you need to take a vitamin supplement and how much to take if it is needed.

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Q: Why Is Vitamin D Important

A: Research I have done in this area has found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure later in life. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. No matter your age or stage of life, having adequate vitamin D levels is important.

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Can Vitamin D Prevent Or Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Your Vitamin D Requirements are VASTLY Higher Than You Think

Cardiovascular Disease Taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk ofheart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease, according to the findings of a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving more than 25,000 participants that was published in the aforementioned January 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cancer In the same study, researchers found that vitamin D supplementation was not found to reduce the risk of cancer in participants overall. However, those who had developed cancer and were taking vitamin D were less likely to die early than those who took a placebo. Researchers also found a possible reduction in cancer risk for African Americans, and they called for further study to confirm those results.

Rheumatoid arthritis A small observational study of 44 people with RA and 25 controls found that vitamin D deficiency appeared to be more prevalent among people with RA, suggesting these people may benefit from taking a supplement. But a separate small randomized, controlled trial found that while a vitamin D supplement helped people with RA build stronger bones than the control group, the supplements didnt result in other expected health improvements.

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Getting Vitamin D From Sunlight

To make vitamin D, you need sunlight on your skin. From April until the end of September its possible to get enough vitamin D by spending time outside.

For most people, you only need to be outside for short periods of time, for example around 20-30 minutes. Although the exact time isnt known because its different for different people. If you have dark skin, for example if youre of south Asian, African or African Caribbean origin, you will need longer in the sun.

You need to have some skin exposed, for example, your forearms, hands and lower legs. But you can still make vitamin D even if you sit in the shade.

Sitting inside by a sunny window doesnt count because glass filters out the UVB rays the type of light that is needed to make vitamin D.

In the UK, we dont get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March, because the light doesnt contain enough UVB rays. During this time, we need to rely on getting enough vitamin D from food, and possibly supplements.

The guidelines in the UK are that everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement in the winter, especially if youre more like to have a deficiency.

Who Is Particularly At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Some people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. If you are in one of these groups the NHS recommends you take a vitamin D supplement all year around.

Those at higher risk include:

  • People with dark skin melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D and people with dark skin have more melanin.
  • People who cover their skin people who cover up when outside are unable to make enough vitamin D as their skin isn’t exposed to sunlight.
  • People who stay indoors a lot people who are frail, housebound or live in a care home may not get enough exposure to sunlight.

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Should Elderly Persons Take A Vitamin D Supplement

To answer this question, we need to reflect on what is probably the most important principal of drug therapy which is, the possible risks of therapy must outweigh its possible benefits.

In the case of vitamin D this risk/benefit ratio is skewed far in favor of benefits. Vitamin D has many therapeutic benefits ranging from maintaining bone metabolism and strength to reducing the prevalence of colon cancer.

Toxicity can include non-specific symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, polyuria and heart arrhythmias. The primary toxicity concern is elevated serum calcium concentration which can lead to vascular and tissue calcification with subsequent damage to kidneys, blood vessels and the heart. Risks are minimal, especially at recommended doses and most reports suggest a toxicity threshold for vitamin D of 10,000 to 40,000 International Units per day and serum concentrations of 200-240 ng/mL. for that severe toxicity to occur. Those doses and concentrations are not recommended but highlight the fact that at more reasonable doses and concentrations discussed below toxicity is not a big concern for most patients.

So, with possible benefits being great, and possible risk minimal, many elderly people are appropriate candidates for vitamin D supplementation.

What Is Vitamin D

Vitamin D: Should You Supplement? How Much?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a steroid hormone in the body.

There are two types of vitamin D in the diet:

Vitamin D2 : is found in some mushrooms.

Vitamin D3 : is found in oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.

D3 is more potent in these two types and raises blood levels of vitamin D by almost twice as much as D2.

A large amount of vitamin D can also be produced on your skin when exposed to UV rays from the sun. Any excess vitamin D is stored in your body fat for later use.

Every cell in your body can absorb vitamin D. This vitamin is involved in many processes, including bone health, immune function, and cancer prevention.

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