“Because vitamin D is so cheap and so clearly reduces all-cause mortality, I can say this with great certainty: Vitamin D represents the single most cost-effective medical intervention in the United States.” ~ Dr. Greg Plotnikoff, Medical Director, Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis
Vitamin D2 is made by plants. Vitamin D3 is made when the skin is exposed to the sun. Foods can be altered to have vitamin D2 or D3 in them. As always the natural source is the best. If that is not possible, like you live in a cloudy area, you can also get them in supplements.
Vitamin D’s job is to maintain normal blood levels of phosphorous and calcium. It helps calcium to be absorbed which forms and keeps your bones strong.
There has been recent research that shows that vitamin D can help protect against high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, skin, kidney and blood diseases, diabetes and endocrine disorders, mental disorders, cancer and some autoimmune diseases.
They are finding that there is a huge population who are vitamin D3 deficient and need to take supplements since they don’t get enough sun exposure.
In the summer, try to make a special effort to go sit outside in the sun for 30 minutes a day without sunscreen. You can walk in the morning before the sun comes up and it gets hot. If you plan to be outside for an extended period in the bright sun, bring natural sunscreen (like zinc oxide) to cover up to prevent sunburn. In the wintertime, you can stay where it is warm. In the spring and fall, you have absolutely no excuse! If you see you are not getting enough sun exposure you can continue taking your supplements.
It is important that what you are taking is vitamin D3 and not just a D supplement. If you are taking Vitamin D3, it is important to know that there are other vitamins you need to be able to absorb and metabolize Vitamin D3; those include magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, boron and zinc.
Here is the dosing information from Mayo Clinic:
Vitamin D is included in most multivitamins, usually in strengths from 50 IU to 1,000 IU (international units), as soft gels, capsules, tablets, and liquids. Since 2000, discrepancies have arisen regarding the benefits of vitamin D and how much is sufficient. Safety research supports an upper limit of a dose of vitamin D to be more than or equal to 250 micrograms daily (10,000 IU of vitamin D3). The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has reviewed and updated the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). The IOM found that there is strong evidence to support the use of vitamin D with calcium for bone health but that it was lacking for other health conditions. The new recommended daily allowance (RDA), as set in 2010, is based on age, as follows: for those 1-70 years of age, 600 IU daily; for those 71 years and older, 800 IU daily; and for pregnant and lactating women, 600 IU daily. The IOM further recommended that serum 25(OH) D levels of 20ng/mL (= 50 nmol/L) is adequate, and levels > 50ng/mL (= 125 nmol/L) could have potential adverse effects. This level can be achieved through substantial daily skin exposure to sunlight.
Not all doses have been found to be effective for conditions that have been studied.
For deficiency, at least 1,000 IU (25 micrograms) of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily (or 8,400 IU of vitamin D3 weekly). Other doses that have been studied include 50,000 IU daily for six weeks, 300,000 IU of oral vitamin D3 three times a year, 800 IU daily in combination with calcium, 400 IU daily, and 300,000 IU every three months. 300,000 IU of vitamin D has been used intramuscularly as bolus dose of vitamin D2 or D3, three times per year, and 600,000 IU (15 milligrams) of vitamin D has been used as single injections.
For anticonvulsant-induced osteomalacia, 2,000 IU of vitamin D2 has been taken by mouth daily plus 390 milligrams of calcium lactate daily for three months.
For cancer prevention, individuals taking 1,000 IU of oral vitamin D daily had a lower incidence of colon cancer.
For cardiovascular disease, 1,000 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily. Other doses that have been taken include approximately 528 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 daily.
For cognition, 528 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 has been taken by mouth daily.
For diabetes (type 2), 400-5714 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily (with or without calcium) for two months to seven years.
For fall prevention, more than 200-1,200 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily.
For fracture prevention, 400-1,100 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily, 100,000 IU of vitamin D2 has been taken by mouth every four months for 36 months or 10 micrograms of vitamin D3 has been taken by mouth daily for 24 months. For fracture prevention, 300,000 IU of vitamin D2 every 12 months has been used intramuscularly for 36 months.
For hypertension (high blood pressure), 400-8,571 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily (with or without calcium) for various durations.
For hypocalcemia, 0.25 micrograms of calcitriol has been taken by mouth daily, and dosing may be increased by 0.25 micrograms daily at 4-8-week intervals.
For hypoparathyroidism, dihydrotachysterol has been taken by mouth at an initial dose of 750 micrograms (0.75 milligrams) to 2.5 milligrams daily for several days. A maintenance dose of 0.2-1 milligram has been taken by mouth daily. Ergocalciferol has been taken by mouth at a dose of 50,000-200,000 IU daily along with four grams of calcium lactate, six times daily.
For immunomodulation, the following doses have been taken by mouth: 40 IU of vitamin D3 daily for 20 years to 100,000 IU of vitamin D3 bimonthly for 12 months, or 10,000 IU daily.
For mood disorders, 400-800 IU daily or 100,000 IU weekly has been taken by mouth for up to one month to improve symptoms of depression associated with seasonal affective disorder. In obese patients, 20,000-40,000 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth per week for one year.
For multiple sclerosis, 10,000 IU has been taken by mouth daily for 12 weeks. Other doses of vitamin D taken by mouth include 5,000 IU daily (in the form of cod liver oil), progressive weekly increases of vitamin D3 (700 micrograms per week, escalating to 7,000 micrograms per week) plus 1,200 milligrams of calcium.
For muscle weakness or pain, 100,000 IU of calciferol has been taken by mouth daily for 12 months in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
For osteoporosis, up to 5,714 IU of vitamin D3 or 10,000 IU of vitamin D2 has been taken by mouth daily, or up to 200,000 IU every two months for six months or up to 100,000 IU weekly has been used.
For parasitic infections, 40 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily for five days.
For physical performance in elderly subjects, 400 IU of vitamin D plus 800 milligrams of calcium has been taken by mouth daily. In older adults, 8,400 IU of vitamin D3 has been taken by mouth weekly for 16 weeks.
For psoriasis, the vitamin D analog calcipotriene has been used topically twice daily.
For respiratory infections, 2,000 IU per kilogram of body weight has been taken by mouth daily for three days.
For rheumatoid arthritis, 50,000 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth weekly for 12 weeks.
For senile warts, vitamin D analogs have been applied topically in ointments for up to 12 months.
For tuberculosis, a single dose of 10,000 IU of vitamin D2 has been taken by mouth.
For viral infections, 800 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth daily for two years, followed by 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily for 12 months.
For vitiligo, calcipotriol ointment has been used topically twice daily.
Children (under 18 years old)
Since 2000, discrepancies have arisen regarding the benefits of vitamin D and how much to take. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has reviewed and updated the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D in infants, children, and adolescents to 400 IU. Exclusively breastfed infants who do not consume less than 1L of vitamin D-fortified milk daily will likely need supplementation to reach 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Although the AAP advises against keeping children in direct sunlight exposure, this may increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency. However, the IOM found that there is strong evidence to support the use of vitamin D with calcium for bone health but that it was lacking for other health conditions. The new recommended daily allowance (RDA), as set in 2010, is based on age, as follows: for those 1-70 years of age, 600 IU daily; for infants aged 0-12 months, the upper level intake is 1,000 IU daily. Other research confirms these recommendations.
Not all doses have been found effective for conditions that have been studied.
Rickets may be treated gradually over several months or in a single day’s dose. Based on one clinical trial, a single dose of 600,000 IU of oral vitamin D3 was comparable to a dose of 20,000 IU of oral vitamin D3 daily for 30 days. Gradual dosing may be 125-250 micrograms (5,000-10,000 IU) taken daily for 2-3 months, until recovery is well established and the alkaline phosphatase blood concentration is close to normal limits. Single-day dosing may be 15,000 micrograms (600,000 IU) of vitamin D, taken by mouth divided into 4-6 doses. Intramuscular injection is also an alternative for single-day dosing. For resistant rickets, some authors suggest a higher dose of 12,000 to 500,000 IU daily.
For anticonvulsant-induced osteomalacia, 2,000 IU of vitamin D2 has been taken by mouth daily plus 500 milligrams of calcium for three months.
For deficiency, 2.5 milligrams of vitamin D has been taken by mouth every three months as prophylaxis during infancy.
For tuberculosis (TB), 1,000 IU of vitamin D has been taken by mouth in combination with standard TB therapy.
For type 1 diabetes, 2,000 IU of vitamin D taken by mouth daily for a year was associated with a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.
For viral infection, 60,000 IU has been taken by mouth weekly for six weeks.
In order to be able to absorb and use vitamin D the way you should, it is important that the following vitamins and minerals are not deficient in your body: magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron.