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Doctors often recommend a vitamin D supplement in combination with calcium for people who are vitamin D deficient. For most people, 800 to 1,000 units per day from supplements and dietary sources will suffice. For those with severe deficiency, a prescription dose of vitamin D for several months followed by a supplement to be continued indefinitely may be necessary.
A chronic deficiency of vitamin D in children will cause rickets. In adults, it can cause osteomalacia. If your diet is inadequate in vitamin D, then a supplement may be necessary. You should check with your health care provider and a registered dietitian before taking any supplements to make sure the type and amount are appropriate for your needs.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with various diseases, such as bone loss, osteoarthritis, cognitive issues, kidney disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular disease, etc. Vitamin D supplementation can help prevent or treat vitamin D deficiency.
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First determine that you are vitamin D deficient. Consult your doctor, who may order a blood test to determine your vitamin D level. If you're deficient, your doctor my recommend daily or seasonal vitamin D supplementation.
Some foods contain some vitamin D, but not enough to meet the daily requirement. Too much vitamin D can cause side effects, so take only what your doctor recommends. The body regulates the amount of vitamin D it makes in the sun, but cannot protect against excess vitamin D from supplements.
Dietary guidelines from The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommend 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily for children over the age of one and for teens and adults up to age 70. For those over 70, 800 IU is recommended.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.