How much Vitamin D is enough?

by Don

Don's Question...

My dietitian advised me to take between 1000 and 2000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, and says she takes 3000 to 4000 IU. Is that too much? It's certainly more vitamin D than was recommended even 3 to 4 years ago

Suzy's Answer...

Hi, Don,

I wish I could give you a definitive answer to this question. Vitamin D is getting a lot of attention in nutrition circles these days. Many health experts are saying that most of us aren't getting enough of the "sunshine vitamin," depending on where you live, your lifestyle, and even your skin color. Since recent studies are finding that Vitamin D, in addition to promoting healthy bones, may also have a protective factor for certain types of cancer, it becomes an important issue.

I don't know if your dietitian is making this as a general recommendation for everyone, or if you have some specific issues that he/she feels would be addressed by taking Vitamin D.

You probably know that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that any excess can be stored in your body. For this reason there is more potential for toxicity. One concern about taking too much Vitamin D is that it can lead to kidney stones, since with more Vitamin D available, your body tends to absorb more calcium, which in excess, can end up in your kidneys and other soft tissues. Of course, the question again is, "How much is too much?"

Probably the best way to know if you are deficient is to get your Vitamin D level checked, if you have not already done that. In this way, you may feel more comfortable about taking the dose suggested by your dietitian.

You are right that, although the current recommended intakes for Vitamin D have recently gone up, the amounts are still much lower (only 600-800 IU, with the larger amount recommended for people over 70). Of course, this may change as more research is done. The RDA's (or Adequate Intakes or AI's, in this case) are really only a "best guess" based on current research, and cannot take into account all the variables that can exist.

Finally, here is a link to a Vitamin D "Q&A" with Dr. Weil, (Harvard trained physician and botanist and proponent of Integrative Medicine), that I think you may find interesting.

Dr. Weil on Vitamin D

Thanks for visiting our healthy eating website!

Warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell
Nutrition page

Follow-up comment from Don

Despite the declining number of listed health services covered by Canadian provincial governments, I was able to qualify for a vitamin D test.

My score was 137 nnol/L (Canadian measurement), which is equal to 54.9 ng/mL(U.S. measurement).

Anyway, this is not really a question, but here are 2 links to websites that provide nnol/L to ng/mL and vice versa:

I hope you find these converters useful. Thanks.

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