Vitamin D

By Kimberly S. Hart

I receive a lot of questions about how much Vitamin D to take… there is a lot of conflicting information out there... how do we sort it out?

Generally, here is some useful information about Vitamin D which I have gleaned from many sources over the years:

The most recent interview I heard stated that Vitamin D is necessary for all cell function in the body… currently this is being studied in depth as there are still many unanswered questions.  Vitamin D is discussed as affecting everything from mood, digestion, asthma, calcium levels, blood, thyroid, bone health and the list goes on!

The general consensus, at this time, is that our human bodies need to be receiving Vitamin D everyday.  Our skin makes a sufficient amount of vitamin D for our bodies from converting sunlight on our skin into Vitamin D after about 20 minutes of sun exposure PER DAY.

According to my MD the vitamin D2 which is put into milk as a supplement is actually not as beneficial for the human body in that form.  The Vitamin D3 which is what you should be receiving in your supplements, is the proper D for the human body.

Remember that if you have darker skin your absorption of vitamin D from the sun is less than a light skinned person so you will want to potentially be more vigilant in your supplementation. Also, if a person works indoors most of the day, receives less sunlight, they will need more.  In the winter in Minnesota we receive almost no natural sunlight on our skin, thus we may need more then as well.

The Vitamin D Council suggests that a level of 50 ng/ml is the ideal level to aim for. This is why the Council recommends that adults take 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D supplement in order to reach and stay at this level. You can have your Vitamin D levels tested either with your doctor, or the Vitamin D council (a non-profit organization) has test kits you can do yourself at home.

The midwives I work with suggest taking 5000/IU per day summer and up to 10,000/IU per day winter in Minnesota. This plays an important role for general health, endocrine systems and of course is crucial for fertility and nursing.

There are people who have excess vitamin D (over 150ng/ml) and also those rare persons who are sensitive to it in high amounts.

I personally take 5000 IU per day all year, but not when I am in Central America, where I receive ample sun exposure. For more in depth information about how vitamin D affects our bodies ( what we know so far!) and testing for your levels, please visit