Vitamin D dosage

Calculate vitamin D dosage per day, according to the DGE

What vitamin D dosage is recommended for an adult? The German Nutrition Society (DGE) and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommend supplementation with 800 International Units (IU) if the supply of vitamin D from sun exposure is insufficient. This vitamin D dosage applies to adolescents, children, adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and seniors. For infants, the requirement is 400 IU. According to expert opinions, this suggested dosage is too low. Interested parties will find important information on the correct supplementation in this article.

Vitamin D reference values – baseline blood values

Reference values of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the German Society for Nutrition e. V. and the Max Rubner Institute – as of December 2014.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment speaks of an undersupply of vitamin D when the serum concentration of the marker 25-hydroxyvitamin D is below 30 nanomoles per liter of serum (30 nmol/l) = 12 nanograms per milliliter of serum (12 ng/ml).

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment assumes a sufficient to good vitamin D supply in relation if the blood concentration of the marker contains at least 50 nanomoles per liter of serum = 20 nanograms per milliliter.

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, almost 60 percent of German citizens do not reach the healthy blood concentration of the marker 25-hydroxyvitamin D of 50 nanomoles per liter.


Vitamin D dosage without blood test

There are two ways to take the optimal amount of the preparation. If there is no blood test, the following intake is recommended:

  • Babies 400 IU
  • Children from one year 1.000 IU
  • Adolescents 1,000 IU per twelve kilograms of body weight
  • Adults 5,000 IU for an average weight of 70 kilograms
  • Pregnant women 4,000 IU to 6,000 IU

Experts recommend these amounts to ensure an optimal 25(OH)D value of 60 ng/ml. This must be maintained permanently. Users dose the vitamin D all year round, daily in the same amounts. Exceptions apply to people who spend up to twenty minutes in the midday sun in swimwear more than three times a week. The body produces sufficient vitamin D through the skin, especially in summer. Additional intake is unnecessary.

Vitamin K to support supplementation

Physicians recommend the additional intake of vitamin K. At a low vitamin D dosage, patients take an additional 100 mcg of vitamin K2. At a higher intake of more than 5,000 IU, they take an additional 200 mcg daily. Taking the vitamin K ensures that the calcium absorbed through the vitamin D is not deposited in the arteries and leads to hypercalcemia. In the beginning, doctors also recommend taking magnesium, because if there is a deficiency of the substance, the body will not absorb the vitamin D. Many supplements contain both substances in sufficient quantities.

Studies show positive effect of higher vitamin D doses

Of note is the study “Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention” by scientists at the University of California, University of San Diego and Creighton University in Omaha. They demonstrated that 4,000 IU to 8,000 IU of vitamin D daily prevents cancer, multiple sclerosis and type-1 diabetes. The DGE recommendation for dosing vitamin D is not enough. To do this, Dr. Cedric Garland and colleagues studied 3,667 volunteers taking dietary supplements. Likewise, they proved in the tests that a high dosage of the vitamin does not trigger any side effects.

Dose vitamin D with blood test

To determine the vitamin D level, a 25(OH)D blood test is performed. The test provides information on how much vitamin D the patient needs and in which dosage form. Absorption differs among patients. Therefore, different 25(OH)D levels occur with the same vitamin D intake. Likewise, the ability to build up the vitamin absorbed through sun exposure varies. The same is true for the absorption of dietary supplements. Influencing factors include skin color, body weight, age, lifestyle, sun intensity, individual need, absorption capacity, and body metabolism.

Dosage recommendations for the daily requirement of vitamin D

Patients with a value below ten ng/ml suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency. It poses a health risk because not enough calcium reaches the blood. This permanently weakens muscle strength and movement coordination. Bones begin to soften. Dr. John J. Cannell is the founder of the organization and makes the following recommendations for dosing vitamin D according to measured 25(OH)D levels, to increase the level, by 10 ng/ml:

  • 20 ng/ml 1,000 IU
  • 30 ng/ml 2,200 IU
  • 40 ng/ml 3,600 IU
  • 50 ng/ml 5,300 IU
  • 60 ng/ml 7,400 IU
  • 70 ng/ml 10,100 IU

For patients with a value between ten and 20 ng/ml, there is a vitamin deficiency. It leads to osteoporosis in the long term. In most cases, the concentration of the parat hormone in the blood is increased, which adjusts the calcium and phosphorus levels. To increase the same to at least 15 ng/ml and more, the following values apply:

  • 20 ng/ml 500 IU
  • 30 ng/ml 1,700 IU
  • 40 ng/ml 3,200 IU
  • 50 ng/ml 4,900 IU
  • 60 ng/ml 7,000 IU
  • 70 ng/ml 9,700 IU

Generally, a value between 20 – 30 ng/ml is considered acceptable. However, many physicians still consider this to be too low, as the parat hormone may interfere with calcium absorption. To bring about an increase to 25 ng/ml and more, patients dose the supplement as follows:

  • 30 ng/ml 600 IU
  • 40 ng/ml 2,000 IU
  • 50 ng/ml 3,700 IU
  • 60 ng/ml 5,800 IU
  • 70 ng/ml 8,600 IU

30 – 50 ng/ml is considered a normal value. This vitamin D level is sufficient to absorb enough calcium. Research shows a stronger immune system and a lower number of infections when the normal value is reached. In winter, the body needs higher doses. To achieve an optimal level of 35 ng/ml or more, patients take the following amounts daily:

  • 40 ng/ml 800 IU
  • 50 ng/ml 2,500 IU
  • 60 ng/ml 4,600 IU
  • 70 ng/ml 7,300 IU

Levels between 40 – 50 ng/ml are associated with a reduced risk of cancer and an optimal cardiovascular system. Research results prove a strengthened immune system and reduced susceptibility to infections. For best possible health, 60 ng/ml is sufficient. Scientists did not prove any advantage of higher values so far. It is important to take the appropriate amount of the supplement daily. For the dosage of vitamin D it is recommended to consult the doctor. He determines the harmless supplementation. A daily portion of sunshine increases the health-promoting effect.

Vitamin D overdose

If patients take in natural vitamin D via sunlight, an overdose is impossible. During a longer stay in the sun, the body reduces the production of the vitamin by itself. Food contains too small a proportion of the substance to form a surplus. When supplementing with vitamin D supplements, more than 100 micrograms daily is considered to be a long-term concern. Over time, too high a concentration of calcium builds up in the blood. Physicians refer to this as hypercalcemia.

Short-term overdose causes symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue and weakness,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • headache,
  • loss of appetite,
  • heart rhythm disturbances,
  • strong thirst