How Much Vitamin D Should You Take? It Takes More Vitamin D to Restore Levels if You Are Darker Skinned.

Sunny Boy How much vitamin D should you take? The current recommendations from the CDC and AAP are grossly inadequate, especially if you are person of color and thus you naturally make less vitamin D. I have been testing vitamin D levels in my practice for the past 2 decades and everyone (ok 99% of us) are deficient and most severely so. For myself and most adults I know that follow their vitamin D levels, it takes at least 5,000 IU daily to reach an optimal level of 50-80 ng/ml. Don’t be fooled by the 30-100 ng/ml normal range.  A normal range is established by what is normally found in the population.  Since everyone is deficient, a level of 30 should be considered low. Many of the cancer prevention benefits show up at levels above 50 ng/ml, which should be the low end of your goal.

In the study, “Dose and time responses of vitamin D bio markers to monthly vitamin D3 supplementation in overweight/obese African Americans with sub optimal vitamin d status: a placebo controlled randomized clinical trial,” (which you can read here… ) patients were randomly assigned to receive a supervised monthly oral vitamin D3 averaging 600 IU/day, 2000 IU/day,  4000 IU/day, or placebo. Other studies have shown you can safely give the entire daily dose of vitamin D as one large monthly dose, even to lactating moms or children. They found “monthly dosing, 2000 IU appears to be sufficient in achieving a 25(OH)D level of 30 ng/mL in this population. However, importantly, 4000 IU, rather than 2000 IU, seems to suppress iPTH.” Note that they only achieved levels above 30 ng/ml. Adults of all types (obese or thin, African American or otherwise) should take at least 4,000 IU daily vitamin D3.

I have had good results, giving Vitamin D3 as follows:

Newborns to 40lbs (20Kg)       1000 IU daily

40 – 80 lbs (20 – 40 Kg)           2000 IU daily

80 – 120 lbs (40 – 60 Kg)         3000 IU daily

Over 120 lbs (over 60 Kg)       4-5,000 IU daily

Note that this recommendation is far higher than the CDC, AAP, or standard recommendations. This does seem to be what is required to get your levels to an optimal, health promoting, cancer preventing level of 50-80 ng/ml. Please consult with your physician or at least check your levels after a couple months at this level of supplementation to see if for some reason this recommendation it either too high or inadequate for you.

Many of us get very little sun exposure, the only natural way to make vitamin D. Don’t be fooled into thinking drinking vitamin D supplemented milk will get your level up. It won’t. You would need to drink a couple of gallons a day. Because most of us have such low stores of vitamin D, you can continue to supplement throughout the summer. Most people use sunscreen anyway, and that blocks most of the vitamin D production.



Dr. Paul




  • Janay

    Dr. Paul, are you still selling a liquid vitamin D drop in your office?

    • Paul Thomas, M.D.

      Yes, we have one liquid drop, one chewable, and three tablets. The liquid drops and the chewables are both 1000 iu.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the chart of recommended dosage based on weight! Very handy. I’ve been reading that it’s also important to take K2, when supplementing vitamin D. Do you agree with that? Thank you!!!

  • Lynn

    Vitamin D, like A, is fat soluble, and, in high doses, can cause liver failure. 5000 IUs of D is way too much for an infant, toddler or young child. Cod Liver oil, 1 tsp has 134 units of vitamin D. Cod Liver oil has stood the test of time and is the safest way to provide the best Vitamin D to your infant or young child. 2 tsp daily (268 units) is more than adequate if the child is playing outside. Baby Fat is brown fat , whose energy generation is upregulated by Vitamin D activation via the VDR. Babies rarely need vitamin D when as little as 30 min to 1 hr natural sunlight without sunscreen provide all the vitamin D that baby needs. Your recommendation of 1000-5000 units daily may lead to a serious nutritional/hormonal balance causing excessive brown fat energy expenditure which can cause liver issues. It is best that the breast feeding Mom take 2 – 3 tablets of cod Liver oil daily or 1000-2000 units of Vitamin D. If the child is not being breast fed, all the current baby formulas have more than enough vitamin D for the healthy development of the infant and toddler. Recommend advising your patients to make sure the baby and toddlers get natural sunlight daily.

  • Jessica

    I breastfeed my son and take 5,000IU myself. Is it still recommended that I give him 1,000IU each day?

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