Vitamin D

The A-B-Cs of Vitamin Supplements

Salmon decorated on a plateVitamin D is necessary for normal growth and development of bones and teeth. Calcium cannot be absorbed into the body without vitamin D.

A deficiency in vitamin D may cause osteoporosis (thin bone mass), osteomalacia (soft bones), osteopenia (subnormal mineralized bone), rickets in children (abnormal bone formation), and hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium in the blood).

Together with calcium, vitamin D may help protect adults from osteoporosis.

Vitamin D regulates heartbeat and blood sugar, prevents muscle weakness, and may lower the risk of certain cancers (prostate and colorectal). Additionally, this vitamin may prevent multiple sclerosis (MS), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, and diabetes. Further, deterioration of cartilage may be effectively reduced, decreasing the severity of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dosage Guidelines
Vitamin D is available in several forms: tablets, liquid, soft gel capsules, and in multi-vitamin formulas from 50 to 1,000 IU. Injections of vitamin D are available by prescription for people who have difficulty digesting fat (vitamin D is fat soluble). Often, these injections provide higher doses of vitamin D.

The daily recommended amount of vitamin D changes based on your age and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Vitamin D Table

Keep in mind that these are guidelines. Consult a medical professional for guidelines to suit individual needs, especially prior to giving vitamin D to a child.

Sources of Vitamin D
Although sunlight is a natural source for vitamin D, it can be found in many foods such as fish liver oils (salmon, tuna, cod), fortified dairy products, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.

High doses of vitamin D (in excess of 1,000 IU per day) may cause the following symptoms: decrease in bone mass, bone pain, fatigue, sore eyes, itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, a metallic taste in the mouth, excessive thirst, and frequent urination.

Check with a medical professional prior to taking vitamin D if you have any of the following conditions: kidney disease, cardiac disease, high blood calcium or phosphorus levels.

Also, some medications affect the absorption of vitamin D. Some of these medications include: digitalis glycosides, thiazide diuretics, magnesium-containing antacids, Verapamil, and some anticonvulsant therapies. Alcohol and mineral oil also impede the absorption of vitamin D.


Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 03/09/16
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