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Your Questions About Who Should Be Taking Vitamins D

Posted Aug 17 2011 3:58pm

Nancy asks…

I recently had my Vitamin D checked and it was deficient. My level was 15.9 (less than 20 is deficient, 20-29 is insufficient, 30-80 is optimum). My family doctor wasn’t familiar with what to do about a deficiency so she just recommended I take the recommended daily 1000 IU of Vitamin D. I have read online that for someone who is deficient they should take more than that (4000 IU?) daily until the level is up to normal and then take 1000 IU daily. I also read to take Vitamin D3 and not Vitamin D. Does anyone else have this problem and know what is right kind and amount to take if you are deficient?

Mary asks…

I just got my two new bottles of Vitamin D yesterday afternoon. I usually take two in the morning and one at night, but since I didn’t have them in the morning, I took three at around 7 last night. This morning I started back into the routine I had and took two. Only after I swallowed did I realize that’s five pills pretty much within twelve hours of each other. Each pill is 400 ui. Did I accidently overdose? I am Vitamin D Deficient (Not exactly sure what my levels are.) and my primary care physician told me to take 1200 ui a day, and that I could take up to 1600 ui without it harming my body. I then went to my gastro doctor this Monday and she told me I could take up to 2000 ui a day and it would be fine. I’m confused… I’m reading things online that say 5000 is too little for someone who is deficient. But that seems like a lot. What should I do? I’m 19 and female if this helps.

Recommendations are that you have your vitamin D levels tested during supplementation to guide you. Some researchers claim that high doses are perfectly fine but many fear the repercussions of suggesting these amounts without testing. Up to 2000 IU daily should be fine.

Increasingly, people in North America are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D3 deficiency is becoming an epidemic. U.S. RDA are much too low. It is possible that more hours spent indoors, fear of UV exposure, avoiding sunlight and regular use of sun block are contributing to prevent many of us from getting the needed UVB light from the sun.

Vitamin D3 is not a typical vitamin at all but a necessary hormone that effects the immune system & nearly every aspect of health. Having low Vitamin D levels may increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS & being deficient can create or exacerbate other health problems. Research in this area is still ongoing however, and I would consider results to be in the early stages, requiring further research, clarification and confirmation.

However, you can buy vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) over the counter and the upper limits are quite high. Current recommendations are for 35 IU per pound – a 150# person needs minimum of 5250 IU per day & the RDA is 400 IU. This amount is for minimal needs and does not account for depleted stores. During the spring, especially March, is when our stores of vitamin D are at their lowest.

Dr. Joe Prendergast, an endocrinologist /diabetologist has managed over 1500 diabetic patients and, in the last decade, not one of his patients has had a stroke or heart attack. Only one has even been hospitalized! His secret50,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily. Dr. Joe further reports:

* Reversal of advanced coronary disease
* Reversal of advanced lung disease, avoiding a lung transplant!
* Cure of multiple sclerosis
* Cure of amotrophic lateral sclerosis
* Regression of rheumatoid arthritis
* Improvement in allergies
* Control of many cancers including prostate, breast, colon, brain tumors, leukemia, myeloma, etc
* Reversal of osteoporosis
* Prevention of influenza
* Cure of depression and many other mental disorders
* Hashimoto’s hyperthyroidism

Some evidence for the safety and efficacy of Vitamin D3 suggests that quite high does (up to 50,000 units of D3 daily) can be safe and even beneficial.


That said, I am personally a minimalist when it comes to taking supplements. The best way to get nutrients is from a healthy diet – and in the case of vitamin D – from moderate exposure to the sun (exposing your face and hands for 15 minutes daily is generally enough).

I don’t believe in taking massive dosages of any supposedly benign substance without a medical necessity. We simply have not evolved to handle such quantities. Nobody is spending money doing long-term large-scale studies and the repercussions are unlikely to be clear until decades have passed. (Many nutritional companies & “health gurus” do spend huge amounts of money encouraging outsized supplement consumption, however.) What evidence we do have suggests that high dosages of vitamins correlates with shorter, not longer, lifespans.


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