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Vitamin D3 Benefits - New Guidelines

Updated on April 13, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as a RN, I now write about medical issues, and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle are all important.

Vitamin D Function

Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in dairy products, some foods, and it is produced from ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is necessary for promoting calcium absorption, in order to have healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

You use to hear about sailors getting rickets from a lack of vitamin D when on long sea journeys, but there is no reason for anyone to be low on vitamin D today. Lack of vitamin D causes calcium depletion in the bones

Lemon Grilled Fried Salmon


Evidence and Amount of D3 Newcessary

There is a growing consensus that people need higher Vitamin D levels than had previously been recommended. The recommended dose for years was individuals under 50 years of age take 200 IU daily, and those 50-70 years of age take 400 IU. Now these dosages are considered too low.

Years ago there was much concern about fat soluble vitamins building up in your system and causing negative effects, but at this time scientist can’t even agree on the exact amount an individual needs. They are not concerned about toxicity, although obviously you wouldn’t take tablets by the handful.

A recent study showed that vitamin D levels in the range of 1000 IU range had excellent outcomes for the elderly and for people with type II diabetes. However, you cannot eat enough vitamin D food to get to this level. There are some foods with vitamin D that you will see on the chart below, but the selection is limited, unless you are really fond of cod liver oil.



Vitamin D Deficiency

Treating vitamin D deficiency treatment is quite simple. You can buy vitamin D3 pills over the counter, and you can take them combined with calcium. Doctors also prescribe vitamin D if your level is low, which typically would be a dosage of 50,000 IU once a week.

Quite often a short course of the prescription will get you to a healthy level. Researchers, of course, are not going to recommend you live your life in the sun for the sake of vitamin D levels due to the concern of skin cancer. Some sun using sun screen is very healthy but it won’t get your level high enough either.

Osteoporosis (a disease that makes bones thin and brittle, thus causing fractures more easily) is certainly one of the main reasons for increasing your vitamin D level, but it will also help prevent fractures at any age, and help bones grow strong and healthy. If your level of vitamin D is too low you won’t absorb the amount of necessary calcium post-menopausal women are at the highest risk for problems.

Other Diseases that Vitamin D Helps Prevent

Another very important reason to be concerned about Vitamin D low intake is associated with cardiovascular disease, heart failure and possibly type II diabetes. There is a vast amount of ongoing research to determine the healthiest levels. I imagine there will be changing guidelines as they learn more about vitamin D.

Several studies have shown a higher intake correlates with lower incidences of cancers well, particularly colon and colorectal cancers.

Greater sun exposure has also been shown to reduce cancer deaths also.

Autoimmune Disease Require Higher Levels

I don’t drink milk or eat any dairy products due to a medical lung problem, and yes I do miss cheese and ice cream. I quit drinking milk some years ago. Therefore, there are very few foods to eat that have vitamin D, but I do enjoy fish. I take a supplement, and the doctor periodically checks my blood level.

They recommend that the blood level is higher for people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Doctors are checking the vitamin D with routine lab work much more frequently now for many people, and if yours is not, then ask.

Many people are taking vitamin D3 supplements, which are Vitamin D3 tablets along with magnesium and calcium. This is a good way to insure you are getting important protectors available in your bloodstream. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium have been shown in numerous studies to work well when taken together and the vitamin D is more effective when taken this way.

Vitamin D deficiency Symptoms

Food Chart for Vitamin D

Foods Containing vitamin D

Cod Liver Oil 1,360 1340

Salmon, cooked 3 ounces 794 199

Mackerel, cooked 3 ounces 388 97

Tuna fish, canned in water, 3 oz 154 39

Milk, non-fat, low fat, whole, fortified 115-124 29-31

Orange Juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup 100 25

Yogurt, nonfat low fat, whole, fortified 80 20

Margarine, fortified, 1 tbsp, 60 15

Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 oz. 46 12

Liver, beef, cooked, 3.5 oz. 46 12

Ready to eat cereal, fortified with 10% if DV 40 10

Egg, 1 whole 25 6

Cheese, Swiss 1 oz. 6 2


I hope this article explains the importance of vitamin D, and the problem with vitamin D deficiency. Also, most people are probably not getting enough vitamin D in their diet, particularly if they are post menopausal or elderly.

Of course, vitamin D is important for growing children as their bones grow so rapidly. At least most children are milk drinkers, which is important, but children's vitamins are a good idea. We will be hearing more about this vitamin as new research is completed.

Your Personal Vitamin D Evaluation.

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The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Chuck, Thank you for adding this information.

  • Chuck Bluestein profile image

    Chuck Bluestein 6 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

    It is good to let people know about vitamin D. But you mixed up something. "You use to hear about sailors getting rickets from lack of vitamin D when on long sea journeys" There is plenty of sunshine on ships, but a lack of fruit. So many sailors got scurvy from lack of vitamin C in fruits. So the English started bringing limes with them and that cured it. They are still called limeys. So vitamin C cured scurvy.

    Rickets is a game that English people play. Just kidding! That is cricket. Rickets was an epidemic among American children causing severe bone problems. That was cured with vitamin D. But now rickets is making a comeback since children are avoiding the sun or using sunblock.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    okmom, Thank you for your comments.

  • okmom23 profile image

    Donna Oliver 7 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

    Educational and informative article. Well written and organized hub. Voted up and useful.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    oceansnsunsets, It sounds like you are doing it just right. Thanks for your comment.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image

    Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Pamela, I take vitamin d in my multivitamin, and love milk. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Audry, Thanks so much for your comments.

    RTalloni, I agree that we have a lot of learn but I am glad that physicians are finally looking at nutrition as they didn't for many years. I appreciate your comments.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

    Great hub from you, as usual. Thanks for expanding our knowledge. There seems to be some controversy about vit. D deficiency being related to usage of sunscreen. We have a lot to learn about what was once the "norm" in medicine and I appreciate this latest on such an important vitamin.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

    Great info and Nellieanna has some great insight into it too....very important when taking calcium to get it to absorb properly.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Billy, I agree and I appreciate your comments.

    Nellieanna. Thank you so much for your comments and your additional information.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

    What a great and informative hub, Pamela!

    I'm extremely fair and sun-sensitive, so must supplement with Vit. D with my calcium supplement. You've clarified a misconception I've had though. I knew sailors get rickets and that they often lack Vitamin C in their diets, especially the non-officers. I'd always assumed they get plenty of sunshine on ships (one reason I forego cruises is the sun exposure) - so I associated rickets with deprivation of that vitamin. I'd read somewhere that the British sailors were called "limeys" because they tried to carry along a supply of limes to get their Vit. C on long voyages.

    But I just read that it is scurvy they get from the lack of Vitamin C and indeed do get rickets from insufficient Vit. D.

    I'm pleased to have that misconception sorted out!

  • billyaustindillon profile image

    billyaustindillon 7 years ago

    Excellent article on Vitamin D we tend to take things for greated these days - important to have a well rounded diet and be exposed to sun - of course sensible exposure to avoid melanoma and skin damage.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Jim, I didn't know the higher dose was related to any type of skin rashes. Unless there is a specific reason 2000 IU is a good daily dose. Thanks for your comments.

    Peggy, Eating a lot of fish and getting enough sun may be adequate with a small supplement. Thanks for your comments.

    Love to Read, It is more common for women than men to be very low anyway. At least the doctor is on top of things. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • Loves To Read profile image

    Loves To Read 7 years ago

    Great information Pam. My mum who is a type 1 diabetic is going through this now with her doctor. After a vast amount of stress she became very tired and lethargic. Her Doctor tested her and told her that she was severely lacking vitamin D. Because she was caring for her sick husband who was house bound and then her sister. She was not getting any sunlight much at all. Thanks for sharing this great information.

    Love and Hugs

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I take some Vitamin D but at a much lower dosage. Will rethink the amount I should be taking. Fortunately we generally pick up some sun on our walks and like fish and dairy products. Good article Pamela! Rating it useful as I am sure it will be to many people.

  • FitnezzJim profile image

    FitnezzJim 7 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    I take 2000U a day, and tried the doctor prescribed 50000U per week. Unfortunately, every time I try the larger dose, it seems to coincide with some incidental exposure to posion ivy or mold or some other skin irritant. So now I have stuck in my head 'Big Dose' = 'ugly skin rash', and shy away from the 50000U.

    Great article.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    JY, Thanks for the comment and at least you might be healthier!

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Very good information Pam. I didn't know a lot of this stuff. But, I'll still be ugly anyway... :-)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Springboard, If it works why analyze it? You are certainly taking the right amount according to my doctor. Thanks for the comment.

    Bandrocker, We do get vitamin D from sunlight, but not enough to meet all our needs. You make a good point about today's lifestyle. Thanks for your comment.

    Prasetio, I very much appreciate your comments as always.

  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

    I do believe that vitamin D is really useful for our body. We need this substance to prevent some serious disease and good for body defense. Good presentation between text, picture, video and table. Thank you very much. Rating up. Take care!


  • brandrocker profile image

    brandrocker 7 years ago

    Interesting article. As such I have seen that today's lifestyle is not too good for health. We spend time mostly indoor. This might hinder the process of natural vitamin synthesis from Sunlight. But I am not quite sure, if it has any scientific findings.

  • Springboard profile image

    Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

    Excellent and interesting article. I started taking Vitamin D at 2,000 IU every day a couple of years ago after my sister sort of introduced me to the idea. For what it's worth, I do think it helps. It especially seems to help during the winter in curtailing the wintertime blues. Not sure why, but that's my take.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Shaz, It is a good excuse. Thanks for the comment.

    Debbie, I very much appreciate your comments.

  • debbiesdailyviews profile image

    debbiesdailyviews 7 years ago

    I voted this up, and useful !

    Fantastic info, and brilliant advice.

    It's foolish to egnore this post, so thank you .

  • shazwellyn profile image

    shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

    Umm... good excuse to go on a holiday and lap up those rays! Thanks for the information :)


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