How much vitamin D should I be taking?
Q. Dear Terry, “I don’t think I get enough vitamin D. I am not outside a lot and it’s not sunny for a good portion of the year where I live. How much vitamin D should I be taking?” — Shilo Y., Seattle, WA
A. Dear Shilo, Vitamin D is incredibly important to virtually every cellular process within our body. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, there are certain cells that undergo changes and convert a special kind of cholesterol into usable vitamin D. There are many factors that can impact how efficient this process is: including age, latitude, cholesterol status, ethnicity, and many others.
While the recent increase of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin D is promising, I think the level may still be too low for most people to receive many of the therapeutic benefits of vitamin D. This is especially important for the people living in areas of the world where receiving vitamin D from the sun may not be available year-round, such as Washington.
Personally, I think 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D per day is a much better amount for the maintenance of good health. I prefer to use vitamin D3, as cholecalciferol, because it is in the human form. There is also vitamin D2, as ergocalciferol, but this form is much less effective at raising vitamin D levels.
Terry . . . Naturally