How Much Vitamin D Do I Need Each Day?

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It may frustrate you to get an answer like this but the best answer to how much of any nutrient do I need is it depends, it depends on who you are, where you're getting the nutrient, and what you do. If you get 20 minutes or more of sun exposure to the face, the neck, the arms, the shoulders, every day, you probably don't need to get any vitamin D in your diet.

If you eat a lot of dairy that is fortified with vitamin D you might not need to take a supplement, but if you don't get routine exposure if you don't eat dairy you almost certainly do need to take a supplement and frankly even if you eat dairy and you try to get sun exposure if you live in Northern Climates, I live in New England certainly in winter months, we can't get enough sun exposure, and supplementation makes sense.

The Institute of Medicine recently addressed how much supplementation the which person requires and they're recommending 600 international units a day, 800 in older people. But frankly I think even a little more than that may be advantageous. So, I routinely recommend 1000 IU international units of vitamin D a day for most people.

That's enough to get the job done, but not enough to be dangerous. It's in that sweet spot, it's safe, on the other hand during winter months, some of my patients in New England don't get an adequate blood level with 1000 a day, and so I sometimes go up to 2000 a day or even more.

My recommendation though is that 1000 a day is a generally safe level, and if you're thinking about doing more than can confer with a health professional who knows your individual case.