Vitamin D

What is vitamin D and how do we use it?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that assists with the following bodily functions:

  • Regulation of blood calcium levels
  • Aiding the absorption of phosphorus and calcium to maintain bone health
  • Muscle function
  • Nerve signaling
  • Immune system function

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How much vitamin D do I need?

Age Group RDA
0-1 year 400 IU (10 mcg)†
1-70 years 600 IU (15 mcg)
71+ years 800 IU (20 mcg)‡
Source: National Institutes of Health1
† Adequate intake
‡ Recommended daily value on new Nutrition Facts labels

The figures listed above are general guidelines. Your physician should check your vitamin D levels annually and may recommend taking a vitamin D supplement that exceeds these levels.

Are you getting enough vitamin D? Keep a food diary and find out. Track vitamin D!

What are good sources of vitamin D?

The body obtains vitamin D through diet and sunlight. Many people find it difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, so spending time outside can be an essential aspect of meeting your vitamin D needs.

Example Serving mcg
Cod Liver Fish Oil 1 tbsp 34.0
Swordfish 3 oz 11.8
Atlantic Salmon 3 oz 9.4
MargarineFortified 1 tbsp 8.0
Egg Yolks 1/4 cup 3.3
MilkFortified 1 cup 3.1
Vanilla YogurtFortified 1 cup 2.6
Orange JuiceFortified 1 cup 2.5

What are symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can cause pain and weakness in bones and muscles. Extreme deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in both children and adults, resulting in soft bones and skeletal deformities.


  • Insufficient dietary intake of vitamin D over time, especially in lactose-intolerant individuals and vegans
  • Impaired kidney function, which reduces the amount of dietary vitamin D that gets converted into a form our bodies can use
  • Limited sunlight exposure
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, which interferes with the absorption of dietary fat and fat-soluble vitamins

What are symptoms of vitamin D toxicity?

Abnormally high levels of vitamin D can lead to heart arrhythmia, kidney stones, and increased volumes of dilute urine. The upper intake levels (ULs) for vitamin D are as follows:

Age Group Upper Limit
0-6 months 1,000 IU (25 mcg)
7-12 months 1,500 IU (38 mcg)
1-3 years 2,500 IU (63 mcg)
4-8 years 3,000 IU (75 mcg)
9+ Years 4,000 IU (100 mcg)
Source: National Institutes of Health1

Additional Resources

  1. Vitamin D Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health.

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