Tell Me: How Much Vitamin D Per Day Do I Need?
If You’ve Only Got 30 Seconds...
🌞 How much vitamin D per day is safe? The NHS recommends up to 4,000 IU (100 mcg) is the typical safe dose.
🧪 According to Healthline, studies have found that certain groups of people may benefit from higher doses of vitamin D.
Perception of the Importance of Vitamin D and Co-Factors to Health Source: Vitamin D Wiki
7 Factors That May Affect Your Vitamin D3 Needs
➡️How Much Vitamin D Per Day for Children?
➡️How Much Vitamin D Per Day for Adults?
➡️How Much Vitamin D Per Day for Seniors?
➡️How Much Vitamin D Per Day When Pregnant?
➡️Is It OK to Take More Than the Recommended Dose of D3?
Okay, so we know you’ve come to this page to find out how much vitamin D you should take — don’t hesitate to scroll down if you want to get to the nitty-gritty details.
But first, let’s quickly cover what vitamin D is, and how the two types — D2 and D3 — differ.
As differences go, it’s pretty important!
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and its two most common forms are:
Dietary supplements with vitamin D feature either D2 or D3.
A lot of people wonder, “what’s the one you get from the sun?” ☀️
The fact that vitamin D, in general, is often described as “the sunshine vitamin” perhaps doesn’t help. Because you actually only get one type of vitamin D through sunlight...
Yep, a shortage of D3 is what often causes vitamin D levels in the body to fall during those drearily grey winter months. 🌨️🌨️
The extent of your potential deficiency in vitamin D can alter depending on several key factors, which we’ll outline a bit further down.
Vitamin D carries out vital functions, including the absorption of calcium and regulating phosphorus in the body.
Deficiencies can lead to all sorts of unwelcome health issues.
Fractures, rickets, and misshapen bones to name a few...
But when you ensure your vitamin D levels are well-optimised, then your bones can grow and sustain themselves as they should.
Your teeth (which are technically bones, too) also need it to stay healthy and resilient.
And there’s more. Some research papers have revealed that taking enough vitamin D can:
- Protect against cardiovascular disease (Journal: Circulation)
- Reduce the chance of getting the seasonal flu (Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)
A misconception is that EVERYONE needs the same amount of vitamin D. Nuh-uh.
Turns out, a “one-size-fits-all” approach is the wrong way to look at this...
How much vitamin D per day you should consider taking will depend on factors like:
Recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D vary in different parts of the world.
Can you guess why?
You probably got it in one, but here’s a hint: does the UK get as much sunlight as, say, Spain or Australia?
(Ah, the downsides of being a Brit!)
Countries in the Northern hemisphere tend to get less sunlight, especially from October to March. This is part of the reason why recommendations need to be more nuanced than simply saying:
“Everyone needs to take *enter amount* of vitamin D.”
Those who spend a lot of time indoors, have darker skin pigmentation, or follow diets low in vitamin D may need to take a higher dose.
Did you know?
Dietary vitamin D is most likely in the form of D3 (which comes from animal foods). However, vegan vitamin D3 supplements are also available on Nutravita.
📙 SUGGESTED READING: Vegan Vitamin D3
Vegan Vitamin D3 1000iu (25ug) 180 Softgels
As the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital explains, getting enough vitamin D is particularly important for growing infants and teenagers.
In the UK, 7.5 to 10 mcg (300-400 IU) of vitamin D a day is recommended for newborns.
For children aged one month to 18 years, doses can be increased up to 1,000 IU (25 mcg).
Separate guidelines are in place for children who have a vitamin D deficiency.
In this case, doses are higher. Those aged 12-18 years may take 6,000 - 10,000 IU for 4-8 weeks.
For adults in the UK to keep their bones and muscles healthy during the winter months, the NHS recommends taking 10 mcg (400 IU) of vitamin D per day.
However, adults may take up to 4,000 IU per day safely. Those who have a deficiency may be advised to take higher amounts.
Getting your levels tested can serve as a useful baseline to see how much vitamin D you need.
Generally, elderly people in the UK are recommended to take the same amount as adults.
But in a study titled The Role of Vitamin D in the Aging Adult, various risk factors were identified that could lead to seniors being insufficient in the vital vitamin:
Factors Contributing to Vitamin D Deficiency/Insufficiency in the Aging Adult
Higher doses of vitamin D were found to be helpful in some of the clinical trials.
For instance, adults over the age of 65 reduced their risk of hip fractures when taking a vitamin D dose of >800 IUs/day.
Recommended daily intake values for pregnant and lactating (breastfeeding) women are the same as for other adults — 10 mcg in the UK and 15 mcg in the US.
A study in the Journal of Nursing and Health Science found a worrying association, however.
Women deficient in vitamin D were more likely to experience a first-trimester miscarriage.
As you can see, none of the standard recommended amounts shown above are greater than 20 mcg.
Nonetheless, you’ll find a lot of mixed opinions on this topic!
Well, the Endocrine Society Practice Guidelines say that up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day is safe for adults.
Vitamin D3 10,000iu (250mcg) 365 Softgels
It’s also been noted that — for those with a high body mass index (BMI) — a daily dose of over 10,000 IU may be necessary to achieve certain vitamin D targets.
Ultimately, you can’t “overdose” on vitamin D that the skin makes from sunlight. Excess from supplements may occur but aren’t a common occurrence.
Getting direct sun exposure outdoors will always be “king” (or “queen!”) when it comes to sources of vitamin D3.
We say “outdoors” because glass windows block UV rays.
Light passing through glass and reaching your skin will not have the desired effect. At least, nowhere near as much as you would get amongst the birds and the bees!
There are only a few natural sources of vitamin D, most of which come from animal foods.
Plus, it’s worth bearing in mind that vitamin D content decreases when food is cooked.
Fungi, such as sun-dried and cooked mushrooms, provide variable amounts of this vitamin.
But non-animal product sources of vitamin D are few and far between — a point of concern for vegetarians and vegans.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, then you may have to look for other suitable sources of this crucial vitamin.
Sources of vitamin D3 include fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil, are also reliable sources.
Beef liver and other forms of offal also provide significant amounts. Let’s just say the taste of offal isn’t for everyone, though!
And for the dairy eaters out there, egg yolks and cheese also provide decent amounts of D3.
Fortified milk and orange juice serve as additional vitamin D sources. So too, are fortified breakfast cereals.
In fact, the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health says that:
“Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets.”
Poor diets and a lack of physical (outdoor) activity may contribute to vitamin D deficiency. But what are the most common symptoms?
For children, a common side effect of vitamin D is a bone condition called rickets, which is characterised by weak or soft bones. It can lead to stunted growth and bowed legs.
In adolescents and adults, a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia.
This is similar to rickets in some ways. People with osteomalacia may experience general bone pain and muscle weakness.
Research into whether vitamin D deficiency causes several other diseases and conditions is inconclusive. This is because the deficiency may simply be a concurrent condition. But further noted symptoms include:
Blood tests are the only way to judge with certainty that someone is vitamin D deficient.
Your liver converts D2 and D3 into other vitamin D forms. These new variants are collectively called 25(OH)D.
Typical vitamin D tests measure the amounts of 25(OH)D in the blood serum. A detected amount of between 20 to 50 ng/ml is said to be sufficient for most people.
Whereas, someone whose test scores a value of 12 ng/ml or lower is said to be vitamin D deficient.
25(OH)D values between these two are said to be insufficient.
And if the reading is above 50 ng/ml, then the person is said to have high levels of vitamin D.
Rarely, someone may have vitamin D intoxication. This is where the reading is above 150 ng/ml.
We hope so!
Since most vitamin D is made in sun-exposed skin, this is usually the most telling factor in whether somebody is likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.
Further contributors that can increase the probability of low vitamin D include:
People with dark skin are also prone to vitamin D deficiency.
This is because melanin occurs at higher levels in dark skin. It absorbs the UVB rays needed to make the vitamin which, in turn, lowers production.
Vitamin D deficiency in older persons may result from a combination of issues, such as having thinner skin and being less likely to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. They may also spend more time indoors.
A low percentage of fat in the body can also lead to vitamin D deficiency.
Why, we hear you ask...?
Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it’s best absorbed by your digestive system in the presence of fat.
In most cases, treatment of vitamin D deficiency involves increasing your intake through a supplement.
There is no general agreement, however, on the amount needed. Doctors may prescribe more if they feel it is needed to reverse the deficiency.
Supplements play a necessary role in helping to boost vitamin D levels.
Whether you’re deficient in the vitamin or not, taking a “maintenance” dose can be sensible to make sure your levels are topped up all year round.
Food sources of vitamin D are limited and many people fail to get enough sun exposure…
After all, life gets busy, and computers seem to rule the world these days, meaning we don’t get out as much as we should!
The best option of a lower maintenance dose on the Nutravita store is our Vitamin D3 1,000 IU supplement:
Supplements can help individuals get the vitamin D they need to stay healthy.
The NHS recommends a vitamin D supplement for:
You can see their recommended intake values for these groups here.
And as we mentioned earlier, plant sources of vitamin D are very limited. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians should consider a daily, vegan-friendly vitamin D supplement.
The vegan vitamin D3 supplement available on Nutravita is made from lichen, instead of the usual source: sheep’s wool.
Find out more about this unique, natural blend here.
Thanks for reading!
To healthier days, Nutravita
📙 OPTIONAL READING: Vitamin D3 and K2 — Why Is Their Nourishing Partnership So Good for the Body?
P.S. If you feel like being extra nice, please share this article with anyone you know who might need to up their vitamin D intake. The social share buttons are at the top of this page. Thank you!
Co-written by Declan Davey
Declan is a Health & Wellness Copywriter with a professional background as an NHS therapist. His previous roles include work with mental health services and disability charities in London, UK.
**Disclaimer: Nutravita’s blog content is for informational purposes only. It should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical advice or guidance. If you are worried about your health, we recommend that you contact your doctor. Please do not ignore your doctor’s advice because of any information on https://www.nutravita.co.uk/.
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