How Much Vitamin D to Take?

Foods don’t contain very much vitamin D. The richest sources are fish, fortified dairy and soy milk products, and eggs. But salmon has only 100 units an ounce; milk, 100 units a glass. So you can’t get enough vitamin D from food alone.

The lighter your skin, the more sensitive you are to sunlight, but the less sunlight is needed to produce vitamin D. The darker your skin, the more sunlight is needed. So how do we know how much is enough? It depends on your skin type, where you live, how much time you spend outdoors, your dietary sources of vitamin D, and what you might get in supplements.

How much vitamin D do I need?

Based on the existing research and an equal measure of common sense, here’s an approach to make sure you’re protected and getting enough vitamin D:

  • Get your vitamin D from a combination of food, sunshine and supplements.
  • Spend less time indoors and more time outdoors.
  • Get 10 – 15 minutes of sun daily, before putting on sunblock.
  • Enjoy healthy foods that contribute to your vitamin D intake, like cod liver oil, salmon, sardines and other fish; and fortified dairy and soy milk products.
  • Take a daily supplement of vitamin D3 – anywhere from 2,000 – 10,000 IU per day, depending on your needs (please consult your doctor on how much you should take). Important: Make sure it states “cholecalciferol” in the ingredients.
  • Get your blood level of vitamin D tested. It should be between 50ng/ml and 100ng/ml.