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July 22nd, 2011
08:58 AM ET

How much vitamin D do I need?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by Terry of Dodge City, Kansas

I have some 2,000 IU vitamin D capsules that I am about to take. I'm a 60-year-old male, in pretty good health and not overweight or underweight. I'm also active. I've read that 2,000 is the upper limit for daily dosage, and I don't think I need to take that much anyway. The capsules I have cannot be split, so could I use them every other day and be OK? Thank you very much, and have a great week. I appreciate your site and the info.

Expert answer:

Hi Terry. I wrote about vitamin D awhile back but since the RDA (recommended daily allowance) has changed since then, I thought it would be worthwhile to update my response.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is mainly produced by exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light.

Your ability to produce vitamin D in the skin decreases with age, and since it is present in very few foods naturally, consuming fortified foods or taking a vitamin D supplement is necessary for many people, particularly people with osteoporosis and those at higher risk of deficiency due to limited sun exposure, breast fed infants, overweight/obese individuals, older adults, dark-skinned people, and people with fat malabsorption.

Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health in both adults and children. In addition, vitamin D has numerous other roles in the body, and a growing body of research is finding that deficiencies may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer (especially colon cancer), type 2 diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Because these studies are mainly observational, extensive research is under way to determine the causal relationship between vitamin D levels and disease as well as the role of increasing vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D levels can be checked by a simple blood test called 25OHD, which is considered the best indication of vitamin D status. While optimal levels have not been firmly established, levels above 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml) are considered adequate by the Institute of Medicine.

A report published in 2007 suggested that greater than or equal to 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) may be a better target, and last April, the International Osteoporosis Foundation issued a position paper in which most of the experts felt that the higher target blood levels (75 nmol/L or 30 ng/ml) were more appropriate for older adults to decrease their risk of fractures and falls.

As with most things in nutrition, more is not always better. Research suggests that levels above 150 nmol/L (60 ng/ml) may have adverse health effects.

The latest RDAs of vitamin D increased to 600 IU for adults up to the age of 70 and 800 IU for adults older than 70, and the tolerable upper limit increased from 2,000 to 4,000 IU per day for adults. The IOF estimated that doses of 800 to 1,000 IU (20-25 mcg) or higher may be required in older adults to prevent fractures and falls but stated that more research is necessary.

In your case, you do not appear to have any risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, but if you are concerned, I recommend having a blood test done.

If your blood level is low, you will need a higher dose to raise and keep levels in the normal range. This is best done under the supervision of your doctor, as responses to vitamin D supplements are variable and there are dosage guidelines that your doctor can utilize.

If your levels are normal, taking 2,000 IU every other day or every third day would be fine, according to Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, senior scientist and director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA at Tufts University.

In fact, similar blood level responses are seen when equivalent doses of vitamin D are taken daily, weekly, or monthly.

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soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Sheila

    I started taking a vitamin D supplement in November and by May I had my first kidney stone. I'm only 40, in great shape, exercise regularly and all other health factors are great. You should talk to your doctor first about potential kidney issues before starting any increases in Vitamin D – especially if you already get plenty of sun.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kris

      Why did you start taking it then?

      July 22, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • CLS

      Very odd complaint...in fact vitamin D frixes calcium in the bobes- where it belongs.

      You have something else going on unrelated to vitamin D issues. Get your blood level tested (the correct, evolutionary normal is 50-80 ng/ml, 25 OH).

      I have read ALL the vitamin D research of the last 5 years, without exception, and NO complaints of kidney stones associated with normal ranges.

      NONE.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:31 | Report abuse |
    • Not likely...

      Normal kidney stones take years to form – highly doubtful that Vit D was responsible. I say normal because I get rare cystine stones that can form in days – so I have done major research on stones and Vitamin D is not likely the cause of your stone.

      July 23, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
    • aasdasd

      Dr. Sanjay Gupta needs to lose his medical license for being a quack. He uses the media to make money every way he can.

      July 23, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
    • JCee

      Vitamin D USES UP magnesium. And magnesium deficiency causes LOTS of symptoms.
      I have a very hard time keeping up with magnesium deficiency and show symptoms of
      vitamin D side effects every time I supplement for more than a few days, which are the
      same symptoms as magnesium symptoms. Have found there are lots of people like me.
      Make sure your magnesium is very sufficient before supplementing with D. Hear K2 is
      also important.

      February 28, 2014 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
  2. The_Mick

    The accepted minimum seems to be 32 ng/mL but studies indicate 40 is better than 32 and 50 better than 40. I take, on PCP's recommendation, 5000 IU per day and my last blood test showed 37 ng/mL. I bicycle on Mon-Wed-Fri and have enough of a tan on my face, arms, and legs that I clearly get enough sunshine but my Vitamin D levels are often low if I don't take the large supplement. Note that the 4000 IU max supplement limit is based on an expected max blood level resulting from it. Since my blood levels aren't even at 40 when taking 5000 IU's per day, I'm not overdosing.

    July 22, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • riprap

      I understand that it takes animal fat in the diet to metabolize vitamin D.

      July 22, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
  3. The Dark Side

    I HATE sunshine. So just for that reason I take a d-3 supplement daily.

    If you do take vitamin d supplements, make sure that you are taking the D-3 and not D-2. D-2 is synthetically produced and can be toxic in doses of 5,000iu or higher. D-3 is naturally occurring, derived from animal sources, and safe in doses upwards of 50,000iu.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • defchem

      Not sure what you are talking about. Vitamin D2 is typically produced from ergosterol extracted from yeast. D3 is produced from 7-dehydrocholesterol from animal sources. Other than the source (ergosterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol), both D2 and D3 are made via photochemical reaction with ultraviolet light followed by purification. Both are good for you at low to moderate levels. However, both can be toxic if taken at very high levels. Follow the IOM guidelines if you need guidance (http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Calcium-and-Vitamin-D.aspx), or better yet, ask your doctor.

      July 22, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • CLS

      defchem:

      NOBODY, including the Endocrine Society, is following the IOM's recs.

      NOBODY!

      Should you do so, you'll be sick regularly- I guarentee it1.

      20 ng/ml?

      Look at the research and recognize the IOM had ZERO vitamin D scientists/experts on the panel. Also, understand sveral members are drug comany consultants with products in development based on VITAMIN D.

      The IOM knows NOTHING of the current research, and, to be specific, their recs were for BONE HEALTH ONLY!

      Anyone i nthe 50-80 ng/ml range will tell you nothing has ever felt soooooo good.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:35 | Report abuse |
    • Fifi

      Are you a vampire, Dark Side? Or a mass murderer?

      How can any sane person "hate" sunshine?

      July 23, 2011 at 03:42 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I hate sunshine too and I'm perfectly healthy. I supplement with Vit D. Sunshine makes me feel physically sick and has since I was a child. So I avoid it as much as possible.

      July 23, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Some people use hyperbole when they talk more than others. Some of us who are fair skinned cannot get much sunshine because it burns easily and we have a higher risk of skin cancer. I'm guessing moderate sun exposure is good for those that "hate sunshine."

      July 23, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Spock

      Are you from India that you want to avoid the sun ?

      July 24, 2011 at 05:18 | Report abuse |
    • Jud

      I don't like sunshine. It causes radiation damage to my skin, and whenever I'm out in the sun for long periods of time, I feel sluggish. I love the beach, but if you run around without sun screen you get sun sickness and its not fun. I prefer to get my vit d through a bottle.

      July 26, 2011 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
  4. Ashleigh

    I take 5000u every other day. Even on that dosage, I'm only at 23 ng/mL. Blood tests are really the most accurate judge on whether your levels are enough. My diabetes educator told me that something like 80% of the population is deficient in vitamin D, and studies keep showing it's a VERY important vitamin, especially in pregnancy.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momof3

      Yep, I was supplementing for about 1-2 years with 2000iu per day and tested at 32, and that was coming off summer in a sunny southeastern state (when my levels were likely a good bit higher from sun exposure as compared to getting tested in February). I was tested by my midwives early in pregnancy and I'm so glad I was able to work on addressing it. Low D is tied to a host of maternal/fetal issues in addition to a host of other health concerns.

      July 22, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
    • Willowspring

      Wish I could give the link for this, but when the health care law was passed, one of the tests that would be dropped is the blood test for Vit D. Can anyone come up with that info? For something as important to overall health that would actually forestall some of the most difficult diseases, it would seem that would be one test that would continue to be covered.

      July 22, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
  5. Elaine Q

    The Vitamin D Council believes that thousands of people are dying every year from illnesses vitamin D can prevent. In order to prevent the largely imaginary deaths from vitamin D toxicity, we're afraid to treat widespread D deficiencies with reasonable doses. Our ability to make D declines with age. Many people require 5000 IU per day to keep their blood levels up. Obese people may require substantially more. Darked skinned people are more likely to be D deficient, because they make less D from the sun.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Willowspring

      It is also important to check what doses are included in Calcium and multivitamin supplements. Because of skin conditions, discoid lupus and rosacea, I always wear SPF 55 sunscreen, therefore my Vit D production from sun exposure is limited. With the fact that older people do not make as much Vit D, and unless supplemented do not get enough in the American diet, it is important to cover the Vit D test in whatever health care is in effect.

      July 22, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
  6. t.b.

    take 50.000 twice weekly. had lung transplant so that is what they recommend

    July 22, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS

      40 years of organ transplant rejection issues evaporated overnight when someone figured out it was vitamin D deficiency causing almost ALL the issues.

      However, billions in marginally effective, damaging drugs were used to combat rejection.

      D'oh!!!

      July 23, 2011 at 03:37 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Not D'Oh, but Cha Ching! http://tinyurl.com/PF-Money

      July 23, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  7. Pam

    I have to take Vit D, but can't tolerate more than 600IUs; any higher, and I start to get one of the side effects of high dosage: feeling like I had Alzheimer's. When I have taken higher dosages, even 1000, I can't remember people's names that I have known all of my adult life, can't remember other things etc.. I get the D in chewable calcium that I take three times daily.

    July 22, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS

      Huh?

      Not the vitamin D cuasing the issue here Pam- it's the filler/additive chalk pill.

      600 i.u. (less than your body makes in the skin in 40 seconds of sun exposure) is too little to make a difference in anyone but an infant- literally. Find another product or, if you must, take drops.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
  8. Alena

    That is gross... Drink some milk! Go out for a walk in the heat of the day! If less people were lazy getting enough Vitamin D would not be a problem! Just get outside! Set up a hose and run around it! I don't understand why we are all so afraid of looking like a child in front of other people... It's fun! We have become entirely too serious. If we just gave in to our inner child and had some fun every once in a while less of us would need to worry about taking vitamin D supplements or antidepressants... GET OUT AND HAVE SOME FUN! It's good for you!

    July 22, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • GRofPA

      You make me smile! :-)

      July 22, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Vanessa

      Doesn't matter how much milk or sunlight you get if you have Vitamin D deficiency. I deal with this on a daily basis and have to take Vitamin D daily.

      July 22, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      I am outside EVERY day, and my Vitamin D levels are in the mid-20's. I take Vitamin D tablets every day, I take 1,000u each time (TWICE a day), and can't get my Vitamin D to go up over 30. I am NOT overweight, have perfect cholesterol, and everything comes back fine on my blood work, EXCEPT Vitamin D. So, just telling me to go outside isn't a "fix". I am outside! I have to put on a ton of sunscreen, but I go outside! I drink a gallon of milk (1%) every week, and I'm in my early 50's, and female! So Alena, I'm NOT LAZY!

      July 22, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • RD

      Many people in the United States are unable to get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure except for 2-3 months in the summer; especially in the northern states. This is due to where we are in relation to the equator and how far the sun's rays have to travel through the atmosphere before they reach us. It is just not possible for the majority of Americans to make enough vitamin D simply by going outside. Also a glass of milk contains only 50-100 IUs. Therefore, supplementation is necessary for nearly everyone.

      July 22, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      If you put sunscreen on to help protect against skin cancer, Alena, then you won't be producing the natural vitamin D because sunscreen blocks vitamin D production. So just going outside to "have fun" is not the answer.

      July 22, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Willowspring

      Sounds good, but is not always possible. Some people are on medications that make them photosensitive, I am on two at least, some have had a skin cancer, some have other skin conditions that require limiting their sun exposure. Others are more prone to burn after a very short time in the sun, very fair skinned people (me) particularly. Lifetime exposure to sun is also a factor in Melanoma.

      July 22, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • strawberry

      You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I work outside for 4-6 hours a day and was still very deficient (~6) even after cutting out sunscreen. I'm fair-skinned with red hair and your cure-all solution does not work for me. 2000 IU a day has me up to a 30 value, which I can live with. I would love to do it your way and just stop being so lazy! What do you suggest? Shall I just stop wearing clothes to work and not do my two hours of paperwork? You suppose 8 hours of labor in the sun naked would make you approve of my lifestyle enough to actually stop making blanket assertions about a very complex issue?

      July 24, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • swimmer mom

      I'm literally outside 5-6 hours a day in the summer with the swim team that I manage (less than that in the winter, but still spend a lot of time outdoors), and I still test low. Alas, there are still supplements necessary. We DO have lots of fun, though – not to worry, and we have 110 fit, happy kids on the team to boot!

      July 25, 2011 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
    • NATALIE*

      You* make me* smile*:::. too~*!!! The world* needs more people like you*!!!
      Let's all have more light* heArted* F*U*N*!!! xoxoxo* *~Natalie*

      January 19, 2014 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
  9. GRofPA

    GO OUTSIDE.

    July 22, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anna

      Here in Minnesota, fewer than half the days of the year offer enough sun to make vitamin D. Just going outside is not sufficient.

      July 22, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • ThreadTroll

      Take a long walk off a short pier.

      July 24, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  10. momof3

    I was tested in pregnancy and was deficient. I was around 32. Interestingly, I had been supplementing for a long time (1-2 years) with 2000iu of D3 per day. I was also tested in September, when my levels were likely about their highest over the course of the year from summer sun exposure. I was living in NC at the time, so getting plenty of sun, and I am not/was not a daily sunscreen user. I have PCOS, and there is some link with PCOS and insulin resistance and D levels. My midwives were great about testing women in pregnancy. I'm so glad I finally got a level so I could gauge whether to up my supplements.

    SO many people are deficient. Drinking milk isn't going to do much at all to increase levels in an already deficient person. Ditto sun exposure. I lived in a sunny state, didn't shy away from being out without sunscreen with my kids a lot, and it wasn't enough-even WITH supplementation.

    July 22, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Cara

    I wouldn't put much faith in those RDAs, they seem to be figures pulled out of the air. Yes, those 2000IU ones every day or two will be fine, just make sure they're the natural D3, not the fake D2. D3 is much better absorbed.

    July 22, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. J,anotherman,anothertime

    Anybody in favor of multivitamins, daily? A friend once recommended them when I was in my 20's but in those days I was such a coffee freak that I neglected various aspects of my overall health. Nowadays, I tend to locate whatever multivits I can find, and just take a dose with H2O or swallow them like the Flintstones(C) ones my parents gave us as children:)

    July 22, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gnodges

      Not I.......a well balanced diet, eating lots of fruits and vegetables will give you all of the vitamins and minerals you need.......you think taking pills with a picture of Fred Flintstone on it is better?

      July 22, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • CLS

      NO!

      It turns out almost all MV's have preformed vitamin A- and too much of it.

      Too little vitamin D to make a difference (400-600 i.u.- about 1/60 of a milligram- max).

      Plus it was recently learned vitamin A in the form of retinols (preformed) confuses/interferes with the vitamin D receptor in human cells...all but deactivating the TINY amount of vitamin D in MV's.

      Take 5-10,000 i.u. per day in the drk months and get regular, full sun- mid day- in the sunny months...like we did for millions of years until the AMA and derms said it was "bad".

      The AMA, et al, has a horrible history of playing god. AND getting it completely, utterly wrong.

      Avoid the sun?

      Most iatrogenic advice in human history.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:46 | Report abuse |
  13. larryc

    Doctor insisted I maintain 2000-3000 IU per day, living in Seattle. Always rains, never any sunshine. I'm at 4000IU/day and blood levels are only mid-range for Vit D. I hv a friend who has MS, and has no strength to go outside for her dose. Besides – Portland, OR has no sunlight, either. Her doctor prescribes 50,000 IU every week.

    July 22, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS

      That "50,000' every week is D2...junk. Half as effective and bioavailable. D2 should NEVER be used unless stranded at the North Pole.

      What matters more than dosage is level- as in the 50-80 ng/ml range. Read what the experts say...and your doctor is in no manner of speaking one of them. 2-3000 in Seattle will NEVER achieve the healthy, evolutionary normal range of 50-80 ng/ml, 25 OH.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:49 | Report abuse |
  14. ks gal

    I have been taking 10,000iu every day for almost 2 years now. I need to get tested, I had started on that for a month or two and my blood test was in the 30's. grass roots health . org has lots of great info, and most have been taking 5000iu to 10,000iu for a year or more with no toxic side effect.

    I think certain diseases make taking this much impossible for some people, they have a bunch of great vita d information on that site.

    July 22, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Debbie

    I live in the Sunbelt, and summers here are intolerable–Many, many 100 + degree days. We try to avoid getting blistered by wearing sunscreen and limiting our time out in the direct sunlight. And yet–every August when I have my yearly exam, my blood test for vit D is a bit low, so I take high dosage supplements and retest in 3 months.
    P.S. I am very fair skinned and try to walk the dog, do my gardening, etc. in the mornings before 10 a.m. You can't really tell your levels without a blood test, so I think it is an important test.

    July 22, 2011 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS

      UVB radiation is most avaliable between 10-2.

      Not before 10 AM.

      If you live in the Sunbelt- are fair skinned- and still are low?... you need to get more regular expsoure in midday- simple as that.

      Also- DO NOT shower immediately before- or after- exposure. Wait a few hours and wash where you need to- you know what I mean. Otherwise let it stay there.

      If you follow this advice I guarentee your 25 OH level will climb into the healthy range- 50-80 ng/ml.

      July 23, 2011 at 03:54 | Report abuse |
  16. Diane

    It only takes 15 minutes a day to get a good dose of Vit D 3 from the sun. Yes, you can still have low levels but for most people this is enough. Those that still test low will test higher with supplemantation but please check your scores....you will see Vit D2 levels much higher than they need to be and your Vit D3 only go up a few points.

    July 22, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Afflicted

    Everyone is different on Vitamin D, how much to take for adequate levels, and adequate levels vary according to age and health. Sun exposure has been proven NOT to guarantee even minimum levels. Best recommendation: Get your doctor to check your Vitamin D levels, and continue to do so every 4 months until you are at the level you should be at. Once you've achieved that, monitor it at LEAST once a year. Levels can vary by diet and use of the vitamin, plus sun exposure. I take 4,000 units a day, and was only at a blood level of 42, so I'm upping my intake to 6,000 mgs a day. My target is above 60, preferably higher. But every body is different; some people easily achieve a suitable level on the RDA dosage. I don't personally know any, but surely SOMEONE is.

    July 23, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Robert

    So what then about those of us in the Pacific Northwest (where we have only hit 80 degrees for a total of 78 minutes so far this year)? I take 2 2,000 unit supplements each day due to a recent severe deficiency. Is such a high amount a good idea for someone in their mid twenties in otherwise good health?

    July 23, 2011 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CLS

      Such a high amount?

      You are joking- right?

      4000 i.u./day DOES NOT cover daily normal metabolic useage of D3 and its assocuiated metabolites.

      4000 i.u.- for your info- is 1/10 of a miligram.

      Your body makes 5 X that EVERY day- if you let it.

      Doctors for the most part know NOTHING (corect anyway) about vitamin D health. Get your facts from the experts- not your GP or specialist. They are profoundly ignorant of new research.

      Dude- you made my day!

      4000 i.u. too much in Seattle/Northwest?

      Hilarious!!!!!

      July 23, 2011 at 04:00 | Report abuse |
    • Jud

      my mom and I both take 10k IU a day with no problems... except that we feel great.

      July 26, 2011 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
  19. CLS

    The natural, healthy range of circulating vitamin D is 50-80 ng/ml, 25 OH.

    Vitamin D repletion is thought to occur above 45 ng/ml. This is the point where enough vitamin D is available to be used by EVERY cell as required to maintain proper function.

    In case you are unaware, vitamin D levels naturally exceed 70 ng/ml after a week at the beach.

    A week at the beach, where everyone, without exception, feels as fit as they ever have and have NO health complaints.

    Humans evolved with TONS of sunshine and hence...vitamin D.

    The IOM was so utterly confused in its recs they are generally ignored by those who undersand the facts...like The Endocrine Society. The same docs who told the IOM to go to H*** !, figuratively speaking. They recommend 40-60 ng/ml for those at risk (everyone) from diabetes.

    What matters in vitamin D health is reaching the healthy range, you know 50-80 ng/ml, 25 OH, where, for instance, you will become immune to colds and flu infection. And a host of other old age come early ailments.

    Once a person gets above 50 ng/ml, 25 OH, they will go back to anything less.

    Why?

    Are you kidding me?

    Vitamin D health for life...because nothing else matters more..

    July 23, 2011 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • strawberry

      This 'get outside' business fails to appreciate all of us who say that we do go outside and are still low. I am an outdoor professional and spend about 4-6 hours solid outside every day. After testing deficient for Vit D (my value was 6) I decided to stop wearing any sunscreen at all. I had been pretty lax about it even though I'm redheaded and extremely fair skinned. After 3 months of this and a retest my value had not risen at all – still a ~6. After explaining all this to my MD, I still got the standard response."It only takes 10-15 mins in the sun" similar to you assertion that a "week at the beach" will do it. You are WRONG and there are plenty of us out there who are telling you and our doctors that this is the case. I want to know what is causing something like 80% of people to be unable to absorb Vit D from the sun. What is the underlying issue? I'm now up to a ~30 value with a 2000 IU a day supplement but I would prefer to get my Vit D from the naturally evolved way. It just isn't working.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
    • Jud

      @strawberry.... how far north are you ? it doesn't matter if you are too far north. The fifteen minute rule only works in the summer and only if you are far enough south. Otherwise you aren't getting enough UV to trigger the reaction.

      July 26, 2011 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
    • ME

      Use a Vitamin D exposure calculator like the one here to determine your necessary exposure time: http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD-ez_quartMED.html

      Note that wearing sunscreen will prevent Vitamin D production. If you are not wearing sunscreen and getting the recommended exposures and still have a Vitamin D deficiency, then something is wrong with your ability to produce Vitamin D.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:11 | Report abuse |
  20. Bman

    I agree with a lot of the folks on the forum regarding sun exposure. It does not take much to produce sufficient Vit. D. Avoiding the sun is a terrible idea if it done Properly. Don't get sunburned. Build up your tolerance to the sun little by little each day. I live in the south and work outside. I never get sunburned because I gradually increase my exposure. I don't go out winter white and head on a vacation to the beach, get burned, blistered and such. Doing this type of thing over a lifetime in what Most skin cancer results from. And sunscreen is a bad idea ( unless you've had no sun exposure and are going to be out in the sun for a long period). build up your tolerance, a little morning sun a few times a week should be sufficient. The sun gives life and like anything should be treated with respect.

    July 23, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. kit

    Due to planned malabsorption and dark-skinned, I take nearly 25k IU of D a day. Essential item, and that is a recommended dosage in bariatric community. Working well. Thanks.

    July 23, 2011 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Junior

      Rather than going someplace with more sun, you could esoxpe more of your body to the sun that you have here. Does Steamworks have a rooftop sunbathing lounge?

      April 8, 2012 at 01:54 | Report abuse |
  22. MissNoVitaminD

    I have fibromyalgia and last years i was in very bad shape, the joints were hurting too much and cognitive dysfunction etc., etc. So, I got an appointment at Mayo Clinic and they found that there was no trace of Vitamin D in the blood. Then, for 6 months was given 50 IU (50,000 nanogram?) per week of Vitamin D2. Then, after blood checked again i am having 50 IU per month. The joint pain has reduced and also the mental fogging.

    July 23, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pauline

      Were you ever tested for tick-borne diseases? Even if you were and they came back negative, you might want to consider taking a month of the treatment and see if this doesn't help your symptoms.

      July 25, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  23. vic

    Interesting article. Why no mention of which form of Vitamin D to take in supplemental form. (Vitmain D3?)
    Also no mention of which necessary cofactors (other vitamins and minerals) essential for good/maximum absorption.
    Note: Many Stomach Acid Inhibitors neutralize or inhibit calcium, Vitamin D absorption.

    July 23, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Do my own cooking

    Allergic to sunscreen, use Solumbra sun protection clothing. Allergic to the protein in dairy– meat. Can not do calcium pills–get that dairy reaction–even Tums. So, mine come from greens and I test 70 on Vitamin D level. My hair used to be red; so sun is a no-no. Thank goodness for Solumbra because I wear it while mowing my own grass. Never drank milk–yet my bone test is 2+. Good for someone almost 65! I eat lots of kale.

    July 23, 2011 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Floyd Kopietz

    Vitamin D is the first line of defense against many chronic diseases. While research on the connection of vitamin D and chonic disease may be mostly small population studies or observational and meta-analysis, there are thousands of publishihed studies which almost all show the connection with vitamin D and chronic disease prevention. And there is more evidence that it is not how much we take but rather the amount measured in our blood.
    I keep seeing warnings by medical professionals about supplementing more than 4000iu a day, always mentioning research but these experts never site the research. I have not seen any research showing vitamin d toxicity at levels lower than 20,000iu. Grassroots Health is currently doing a study to find the amount of supplementation to reach the more desirable levels of 50 to 60ng/ml and it may be much more than 2000iu for most people.

    July 23, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. dottie

    Not a outside person so my level was 6!!!! Take 50,000 units twice a week for 3 months then a re-check.

    July 24, 2011 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Christopher

    All the fears of over-supplementing on Vitamin D have thoroughly been debunked. You should be taking 5000 IU daily. D deficiency is at extraordinarily high levels the world over. Even 83% of people in Saudi Arabia have been found to be deficient and all they get is sun! Gupta hasn't done much research on this subject obviously.

    July 24, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mark Holmes

    I have RA, which tends to lower Vit D levels. When first tested, I was at 28 ng/ml. Have been taking 5000 units + a multi-vitamin with 2000 IU's. Am on a paleo diet as well . Blood levels are now at 69 mg/dl. Haven't been sick a day in the last two years.

    July 24, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. DrVonBrain

    I don't believe in taking artificial pills. Just look at all the supplements in the Pharmacy that claim to do this and that for you.

    What were people doing before they made all those pills, including Vitamin D?

    July 24, 2011 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jud

      ..... They were running around naked. Full body exposure produces 20,000 + in close to an hour around noon in the summer.

      You think wearing clothes is "natural" ?

      Also, Vitamin D is arguably the CHEAPEST vitamin to produce and distribute. I hardly ever pay more than $10 for a winter supply for my entire family.

      July 26, 2011 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  30. Pauline

    I tested abnormally low for Vitamin D a couple months ago. My doctor prescribed 50, 000 once a week for 3 months. After the first month I noticed a significant difference in my mood and energy – all for the better. Now, I make a concerted effort to eat/drink foods high in Vitamin D.

    July 25, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jud

    I've been taking 10,000 IU a day for more than a year. I get sunlight too sometime, but I sleep during the day a lot. I have never felt better. Used to have bad skin, asthma, etc... all seems to have cleared up.

    Its also supposed to prevent sinus and respiratory tract infections.

    its not really a vitamin as I understand it ...vitamins are supposed to be things your body can't produce, but you can produce 20,000 IU by standing naked in the sun.

    i don't think we get enough, and i've noticed so many improvements in my health since increasing my dosage I don't think anybody could convince me to go back,

    July 26, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Muhammad

      Mr. G and son eat a whole watermelon tgehteor but a very big one and then they spent their night on the toilet, lol too much water !

      April 14, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
  32. Johnny M

    Whoever says D2 is just as good as D3 and then says 'ask a doctor' has no idea what they're talking about and obviously ignorant when it comes to supplements. Doctors know very little about the proper vitamin requirements, health foods, etc.

    October 31, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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  39. alyssa

    I'm 16 with weak teeth and low calcium am I too young to take calcium 600mg
    And vitamin D pills? It's a dietary supplement I also have gingivitis "( what should I do

    July 18, 2013 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Rakesh

    After test, I got only 10 Vitamin D, uge difiency. Can u suggest, how much dose of Vitamin D table I should take

    August 21, 2013 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Nancy

    I've been taking 10,000 iu's daily for four months and was tested this week. I'm still low but better than I was. For the past two months I've been taking the Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 funnels calcium and Vitamin D into the bones. Without it, it just sits in our bloodstream. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx

    October 23, 2013 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
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  43. Jade

    Hi! This is all new to me and very interesting! As a veryhid from the sun for years thinking it was bad for me. I never left the house without 50 spf for ten years. After hearing reports about importance of vitamin d I began supplementing with a standard 2000iu per day plus 800iu in my multi. I had my levels checked last week. I was probably very deficient because at 2800iu per day, my levels were only 37. 50 is my goal. I am assuming levels drop in winter, but do I adjust my dose when summer comes? I've been my tanning legs daily until i see a little pink... for a week now. Sunscreen only on face, hands and decolletage. Legs no SPF until i see the pink. I am so confused about what i need to take! Have appt. with GP is this week. Thanks!

    March 10, 2014 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rayne

      As you already know vitamin D is soaked into the body by the sun. Your vitamin D requirements vary with age and activity level, along with many other factors. Tanning your legs will do NO good, as The vitamin is obtained through eye obsorption. As for the summer winter thing, there is no difference. The sun comes out in cold or hot weather. If you can see the sun, there is vitamin D to be found. I would suggest stop taking the supplement as it is also supplying you with things you don't need. Just go out in the sun without sunglasses ( you can wear sunscreen ) read a book on the porch, take a pet for a walk, go to the park! Do something just to get out for a minimum of 10 min a day. You should get MORE than enough vitamin D for a daily dose.

      March 10, 2014 at 23:05 | Report abuse |
  44. Rayne

    As you already know vitamin D is soaked into the body by the sun. Your vitamin D requirements vary with age and activity level, along with many other factors. Tanning your legs will do NO good, as The vitamin is obtained through eye obsorption. As for the summer winter thing, there is no difference. The sun comes out in cold or hot weather. If you can see the sun, there is vitamin D to be found. I would suggest stop taking the supplement as it is also supplying you with things you don't need. Just go out in the sun without sunglasses ( you can wear sunscreen ) read a book on the porch, take a pet for a walk, go to the park! Do something just to get out for a minimum of 10 min a day. You should get MORE than enough vitamin D for a daily dose.

    March 10, 2014 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.