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How much vitamin D should I take?

Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Do you love stepping outside on a beautiful day, turning your face to the bright sun, and taking a moment to soak in the rays? Spending a few hours in the sun is an enjoyable way to get your vitamin D.

This is because vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin since your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. [1] However, vitamin D deficiencies are one of the most prevalent vitamin deficiencies in the world. Nearly 50% of the world’s population doesn’t get the recommended dietary allowance of 400 to 800 International Units (IU) per day.

Since it’s difficult for those who live far from the equator to receive the proper amount of daily vitamin D through the sun alone, vitamin D supplementation can help bolster your body with immunal and developmental support. But how much vitamin D should you take?

Which factors impact vitamin D guidelines?

To answer the question of how much vitamin D should I take: you first need to understand the factors that may impact the amount of vitamin D your body needs. Vitamin D intake is shaped by the following criteria: [2]

  • Age – The first factor that influences how much vitamin D your body needs each day is your age. Infants require at least 400 IU per day; those between the age of 1 and 70 should get at least 600 IU per day; and adults over the age of 70 need at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnant individuals should get more vitamin D in their daily diets or through supplementation. [3] Vitamin D is crucial to the development of the baby. Prenatal vitamins typically contain vitamin D, however, the amount in these dietary supplements might not be high enough to meet your daily supplement of vitamin D.
  • Time spent in the sun – Sun exposure helps your skin produce vitamin D. However, wearing sunscreen significantly lowers the amount of sunlight that filters through to your skin. Fortunately, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that the small amount of sunlight that gets through can still stimulate the vitamin D production. [4]

Finally, it’s important to note that the daily recommendations for the vitamin D supplement indicate the amount that your body needs to absorb each day, rather than the amount you must consume. That’s because of the vitamin D you consume through food and supplementation, only a small percentage is absorbed and used by your body.

This means you likely need to consume more than the recommended amount to meet your daily vitamin D needs.

How can you get enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This means you’ll find vitamin D in foods that contain certain fats. Your body absorbs the fat soluble vitamin the same way it absorbs and uses dietary fats. To ensure that you get enough vitamin D every day, you need to eat a diet rich in foods that contain the vitamin or are fortified with vitamin D. [2]

In addition to dietary supplements, sources of dietary vitamin D include:

  • Fortified milk or milk alternatives
  • Cod liver oil
  • Trout, salmon, sardines, or tuna
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

How do you know if you’re vitamin D deficient?

Is vitamin D good for bones? The short answer is yes. Vitamin D deficiency can manifest in several ways. [2] For children, it’s typically apparent by the development of rickets—skeletal deformities. Adults may experience osteomalacia, or weakened bones.

Certain groups are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. If you fall into one of these categories, a Vitamin D Test can help to determine if you’re falling short on your vitamin D needs.

That being said, those most at risk for vitamin D deficiency include: [1]

  • Older adults
  • Breastfeeding infants
  • Individuals with darker skin
  • People who don’t spend time in the sun
  • Individuals with problems absorbing fats
  • Obese individuals
  • People who have had gastric bypass surgery

If you fit into one of these groups, you might need to get your vitamin D level tested to ensure that they are at the proper level to support your body’s functions. Can you take too much vitamin D? Yes – on the flip side, if you take too much vitamin D, it can cause you to experience constipation or even vitamin D toxicity.

Monitor your vitamin D levels with Everlywell

Vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions, yet nearly half of the world’s population is deficient in this critical vitamin. Additionally, your vitamin D daily supplement needs can change as you age and it’s important to stay on top of your daily requirements.

If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, we can help.

At Everlywell, we empower individuals to take control of their health. That’s why we offer a wide range of tests you can take in the comfort of your own home.

Our at-home Vitamin D Test can help you determine if your vitamin D status is where it should be with a simple finger prick blood sample. Simply send your results to one of our CLIA-certified labs and receive physician-reviewed results.

If you need a vitamin D boost, our Vitamin D Gummies can give you the support you need.

Personalize your wellness routine today with Everylywell.

Can you take too much vitamin D?

Does vitamin D cause constipation?

Is vitamin D good for bones?


  1. Vitamin D “the Sunshine VItamin”. PubMed. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. Vitamin D Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. Vitamin D and Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. Sun Protection and Vitamin D. Skin Cancer Foundation. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
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