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Confused About How Much Vitamin D You Need?

By HERWriter
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Confused about how much Vitamin D you need? You are not alone. There is an abundance of information that either tells us that we do not need to worry so much about building our vitamin D levels, or multitudes of other studies that indicate that low vitamin D levels contribute to everything from cancer and heart attacks to diabetes and asthma.

What the National Institute of Medicine (IOM) says:

Normal blood levels of vitamin D should be above 20 nanograms per milliliter and are “the level that is needed for good bone health for practically all individuals.” (3)

Daily-recommended amounts are:

Children 1–13 years:600 IU
Teens 14–18 years: 600 IU
Adults 19–70 years: 600 IU
Adults 71 years +: 800 IU
Pregnant/breastfeeding: 600 IU

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed hundreds of studies and in November, 2010 reported that Americans were not suffering from tremendous deficits of vitamin D and that only adolescent girls should increase their calcium intake. (1) It is important to note that calcium intake is also needed for proper vitamin D metabolism.

What others say:

Some doctors, like Boston University Medical Center’s Michael Holick, say the IOM is far too conservative concerning vitamin D according to Discover magazine.

Holick believes that most people should be taking vitamin D supplements. “I think there is no downside to people increasing their vitamin D intake,” he said.

“I personally get 3,000 IU of vitamin D a day. I have most of my patients on 3,000 IU a day and they are all in good shape. This level of vitamin D will maximize bone health and not be toxic in any way and may have some additional benefits,” Holick said. (1)

The New York Times reported that Dr. Kevin A. Fiscella, a public health specialist and family physician at the University of Rochester, takes 1,000 international units of vitamin D each day, based on data from his studies linking racial disparities in vitamin D levels to disease risk and his belief that “it can’t hurt and it may help.”

His research “revealed much higher rates of vitamin D deficiency among non-Hispanic blacks than non-Hispanic whites.” (2)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.