Now that we’ve got that out of the way, you’re probably wondering how much vitamin D you should take in supplement form.

Before you even worry about dose, make sure your supplement contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is significantly more (up to 87% more, to be exact) effective at raising and maintaining vitamin D levels in the body than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).*

From there, research has demonstrated that supplementing with 1,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 raises the average adult’s serum D level by approximately 10 ng/ml, which means it takes 5,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 per day to raise your level to that goal of 50 ng/ml.*

In some cases of significant deficiency, though, it may take up to 10,000 I.U. (or higher) of vitamin D3 daily to meet the mark,* Henderson says. Heck, according to Crouch, even a couple of months at 50,000 I.U. per week may be necessary to correct a major deficiency.*

Another special circumstance to consider here: Adults with overweight or obesity have vitamin D needs that are two to three times higher than those with a normal weight, so working with a health care provider to regularly monitor your vitamin D status and supplement regimen can ensure you truly get the amount of the nutrient you need to feel your best.*

Once you’ve got your optimal supplement amount nailed down, note that its “packaging” is also crucial to how much vitamin D your body actually absorbs. “Vitamin D is fat-soluble and, thus, better absorbed when administered in a fatty packaging,”* Henderson tells mbg. “So, we typically recommend forms of vitamin D3 that are more highly bioavailable, meaning that they are packaged along with oils or fats.”* If your supplement isn’t formulated with healthy fats (like the organic trio of oils you’ll find in mbg’s vitamin D3 potency+), make sure to take it with a meal that contains healthy fats, like avocado, olive oil, and/or nuts and seeds.

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