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Vitamin D Basics
Susan Randall, RN, FNP-BC, MSN posted:
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends that adults under age 50 get 400-800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D every day, and that adults age 50 and older get 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Some people need more vitamin D.

There are two types of vitamin D supplements. They are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Previous research suggested that vitamin D3 was a better choice than vitamin D2. However, more recent studies show that vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 are equally good for bone health. Vitamin D3 is also called cholecalciferol. Vitamin D2 is also called ergocalciferol.

Experts disagree on the safe upper limit for vitamin D. In the past, experts said that people should not get more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Because of recent studies, some experts now say that a much higher amount is safe. It is difficult to get too much vitamin D unless a person is taking a prescription dose (usual dose 50,000 IUs once a week). In that case, healthcare providers can easily monitor a patient's vitamin D level with a blood test to make sure they aren't getting too much of the vitamin. Problems associated with getting too much vitamin D are rare.

Many people do not get enough vitamin D. These individuals should consider taking a supplement. Before adding a vitamin D supplement, check whether any supplements, multivitamins or medications you already take contain vitamin D. You can also estimate the amount of vitamin D that you get from foods. Subtract the total amount of vitamin D you are already getting each day from the total amount you need to get each day.

Vitamin D supplements can be taken with or without food. While your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, you do not need to take vitamin D at the same time as a calcium supplement. If you need help choosing a vitamin D supplement, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist to recommend one.

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