How Much Vitamin D To Take Daily After High Weekly Doses?

The pharmacist discusses how much vitamin D you should take daily after taking high doses of vitamin D weekly.

Apr 10, 2018

Yarrum asked

I'm on the last lot of capsules of Vitamin D3 capsules for vitamin D deficiency, taking 40,000 IU once per week for 7 weeks. So that I don't become deficient again, how much Vitamin D should I take daily? I'm from Yorkshire (UK) where the sunlight isn't as good as it is in the south of England and I work in an office so not a lot of natural light. I'm also taking St Johns Wort extract 370mg daily for low mood and anxiety.

Answer

After you complete the 7 weeks of high-dose vitamin D, it is recommended to get 1,500 – 2,000 IU vitamin D every day through your diet and supplement sources.

Vitamin D Deficiency 

There are many reasons why people become deficient in vitamin D such as:

  • Not getting enough sunlight
  • Always wearing sunscreen or protective clothing
  • Having darker skin
  • Not absorbing vitamin D because of stomach problems
  • Being obese
  • Being an older adult

There is no set amount of sunlight that everyone is supposed to get every day.  Getting sunlight on the arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes twice a week has been suggested but getting too much sun is known to cause unwanted effects like burns, wrinkles, and skin cancer. For this reason, vitamin D supplements are recommended for people who are deficient rather than trying to increase sun exposure. 

You can also get vitamin D from food.  Three ounces of tuna has about 150 IU, one egg has about 40 IU, and there are many foods that have had vitamin D added to them like milk, orange juice, yogurt, cereals, etc.  The amount of vitamin D in food can be found on the nutritional label or easily looked up online. 

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D is relatively safe, so you really don’t have to worry about getting too much (unless taking extreme doses for long periods of time). Getting too little is generally more of a concern.  For example, it is known that it is safe to take 10,000 IU every day for 5 months but taking this much would be a waste of money when lower doses can be used for maintenance therapy.

Since you were deficient, you should take 1,500 – 2,000 IU vitamin D every day through your diet and supplements rather than trying to get more sunlight. There are many vitamin D supplements available over-the-counter.  If you feel you are getting at least 500 – 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day from your diet, then a 1000 IU per pill product would be appropriate (and may be cheaper than higher dose products). 

If you are getting less than 500 IU every day, a 2,000 IU per pill would be best to prevent you from becoming deficient.  You should follow-up with your primary care provider 3-4 months after you started your 7 weeks of high dose vitamin D3 to make sure your levels are normal.

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