Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment – How much Vitamin D should I take?

I’ve had a number of comments from readers who have been measured with low blood levels of Vitamin D, and their question is usually how much Vitamin D should I take?

Here I am going to outline some guidelines for those interested in Vitamin D deficiency treatment.

Beforehand, I should mention that anyone with a medical condition should speak to their doctor before taking Vitamin D or any other supplement.
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The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600IU (15 micrograms) per day for adults.

This number is considered way too low by many scientists, since the human body can produce more than 10.000 IU of the vitamin in 20-30 minutes of full-body sun exposure.

Based on that, it does make a lot of sense that the body would need a lot more Vitamin D than most health authorities recommend. In fact, consuming 10 times as much as the recommended amount is not uncommon.

How much Vitamin D should I take?

Regarding the question on how much Vitamin D should I take, the only way to know for sure how much you should take (or if supplementation is needed at all) is to have a blood test done.

The blood test should measure 25 Hydroxy Vitamin-D (25(OH)D), which is the storage form of the vitamin in the body.

  • Less than 30ng/mL: Deficiency
  • Between 30ng/mL and 50ng/mL: Healthy levels
  • Between 50ng/mL and 80ng/mL: Optimal levels

These numbers are based on information provided by the Vitamin D Council, the worlds leading experts on this vitamin.

If you turn out to be deficient, then it is recommended to take several thousand IUs of Vitamin D per day, and then have another blood test done in several months. Your daily dosage can be calibrated based on following blood tests.

Of course, there is also the option of getting more Vitamin D through sun exposure, but for those who live where there is little sun year-round (like me), supplementation is the only way to correct a deficiency.

If you don’t get much sun and are unable to have a blood test done, then taking about 4000-5000 IU of Vitamin D per day is completely safe.

Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment

For those undergoing Vitamin D deficiency treatment, it is important to realize that there are many forms of Vitamin D. The main forms are D2 and D3. D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from plants, while D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from animals.

The animal form, D3, functions much better in humans and is a much better option than D2. It should come in oil filled gel caps, since Vitamin D is fat soluble.

Cod fish liver oil is also rich in Vitamin D3, a tablespoon contains about 1000 IU.

Regarding Vitamin D toxicity, that is something you really don’t need to worry about. Vitamin D deficiency treatment is safe, and toxicity has only been reported when people have taken more than 40.000IU per day for a long time.

So, to answer the question on how much Vitamin D should I take, then it really depends on the individual, but 4000-5000IU is a safe choice for adults who don’t get useful sun and are unable to have a blood test done.

Supplementing with Vitamin D (if needed) is probably the cheapest, easiest and one of the most effective things a person can do to improve general health and avoid disease.

The Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are something everyone will want to avoid, which include raised chances of heart disease and cancer (the big killers).

A study came out recently about the association between milk consumption in adolescent years, and risk of advanced prostate cancer later in life.


 

10 Comments

  1. Good post but I do have a warning that I have not read about elsewhere. Of you are a red head make sure you have your levels tested after a few months of supplementing. Red heads absorb D into their blood at a faster rate and you can quickly have levels over 150 which will come with some side effects. Just a heads up.

    I do believe D is almost magical in its effects on well being and immune boosting capabilities

    Marc

  2. Halli Magg says:

    I believe that, rather then giving an intake range, it would be better to give a per-kilo intake recommendation. In this case I recommend 75IU per kilo bodyweight. Which then takes the intake to the levels you Kris are recommending for the average person.
    But this also takes into account, that it seems that the fatter the person is the more D vitamin he/she needs and then the per-kilo solution would solve that problem.
    This 75IU p/Kg is the amount that Dr. Robert Heaney from Creighton University recommends, which I attended a lecture from few weeks back. Then Dr. Mercola recommends 77IU p/Kg if I remember it correctly.
    All the best
    Halli Magg
    Osteopath

  3. Thanks for the tips, guys :)

    For my American readers out there, 75IU per kilogram equals 34IU per pound of body weight and a 180 pound individual would therefore take 200lbs * 34IU = 6.120IU, rounded up to about 6.000IU per day.

  4. Good post Kris. I definitely don’t get enough Viatimin D since I’m usually just inside using my computer. I’m going to start trying Viatimin D supplements tommorow. Thanks again

  5. Anonymouse says:

    It took me well over a year to get my vitamin D blood level up to 74 ng/ml. I was taking 10,000 IU per day of D3 in order to get it to that level. I would have never gotten it there on a measly 1,000 to 2,000 units a day. In fact, I was spinning my wheels even on 5,000 IU. I still take a daily maintenance dose of 8,000 units, and I feel great.

    Everyone is different. Some people require much more D3 than others, particularly if dealing with health issues. The only way to be sure is to get your blood level checked every six months or so, until you have a pretty good idea how much vitamin D your body is using. That way you can adjust up or down accordingly.

  6. I am currently fighting to get my Vit D levels up. They are virtually nonexistant. Every time I have my level checked, my doctor starts me back on 50,000 units weekly for 6-8 weeks then drop to 2,000 units dailyx 3 months on ly to find out my levels are exactly the same. This is so frustrating. I am going to increase my daily Vit D according to above calculations and see what happens.. At this point, what can I lose.

  7. deficient says:

    My levels just tested at 14. I have been having bone and muscle pain, fatigue and dental problems for years. My doc prescribed 50,000iu weekly but I chose to add 10,000iu of D3 daily on top of it. I’m 43 and struggle with obesity and hypothyroidism.

  8. Connie Rogers says:

    Have had periodontal problems all my life but live in Fl and walk 3 miles per day. I was surprised to have Vit D deficiency

  9. Heike Talkington says:

    I have low Vitamin D levels. Does anyone have a constant high pitched noise in the head too? It is driving me crazy. Being dizzy all the time with that sound!

    I am so exhausted all the time. I could sleep all day and all night. I am so tired of it. My Doctor raised my Vitamin D dose from 2000 to 5 or 6000. I also had a brain MRI done,it was good.

  10. I have a vitamin d deficiency. My shins and legs are in pain at times. My ankles are swollen. I also had a Bone Spur removed a year ago. Exhausted all the time. My blood work just came back and promised my doctor I would take my medicine. After reading this, I’m dedicated!

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