How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?

How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?
vitamin d 3d illustration on white glossy surface
vitamin d 3d illustration on white glossy surface

Different organizations recommend different daily intakes. Here are the recommendations from some organizations in the United States:
Recommended daily intakes from various organizations:

  1. Vitamin D Council – Infants 1,000 IU/day, Children 1,000 IU/day per 25lbs of body weight, Adults 5,000 IU/day
  2. Endocrine Society Food and Nutrition Board– Infants 400-1,000 IU/day, Children 600-1,000 IU/day, Adults 1,500-2,000 IU/day
  3. The Food and Nutrition Board (these are the official recommendations by the United States government.) Infants  400 IU/day, Children 600 IU/day, Adults  600 IU/day, 800 IU/day for seniors

It  is fat-soluble, which means your body has a hard time getting rid of it if you take too much. The Vitamin D Council recommends taking no more than the upper limit, meaning do not take anymore than 10,000 IU/day for adults.

While these amounts seem like a lot, keep in mind that your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IUs  after a little bit of full body sun exposure. Vitamin D toxicity, where it can be harmful, usually happens if you take 40,000 IU a day for a couple of months or longer.

There are small amounts in a few foods, which makes it nearly impossible to get what you need from food. However, these foods include:

  • Fatty fish
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified milk and orange juice
  • Fortified cereals
  • Infant formula

Trying to get enough from your diet is unlikely to give you the vitamin D you need.

CLICK HERE to learn what Vitamin D is


Terushkin V., Bender A., Psaty E.L., Engelsen O., Wang S.Q., Halpern A.C. Estimated equivalency of vitamin D production from natural sun exposure versus oral vitamin D supplementation across seasons at two US latitudes. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 June; 62 (6): 929.e1-9.

Plum LA and Deluca HF. The Functional Metabolism and Molecular Biology of Vitamin D Action. In Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology and Clinical Applications by Holick MF. Humana Press, 2010.