To Your Health
July, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 07)
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Other Considerations

If you have a concern about getting enough vitamin D, discuss it with your doctor. Here are a few considerations when you are thinking about addressing your vitamin D requirements:

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form of vitamin D for therapeutic and nutritional uses, as it generates a 70 percent higher serum vitamin D level compared to the same amount of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in humans.
  • Vitamin D toxicity can cause serious health problems, so it is important to discuss your vitamin D status and intake with your doctor.
  • Although vitamin D toxicity from sun exposure has never been reported, excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer, so you should limit your sun exposure and wear protective clothing and sunscreen to avoid overexposure.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Sushi held in chopsticks. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
  • Fish; fatty, cold-ocean
    100-500 IU/serving
  • Milk
    400 IU/quart
  • Orange Juice
    400 IU/quart
  • Bread
    In process of being determined
  • Glass of orange juice. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Solar UVB
    0 IU (winter in north) to 10,000 IU per day
  • Artificial UVB
    10-minute tanning session yields 2,000-4,000 IU
  • Supplements
    200-1,000 IU per pill

Table adapted from Grant WB & Holick MF. Benefits and requirements of vitamin D for optimal health: a review. Altern Med Rev, 2005;10(2):94-111.

Kelly Kwiatkowski has worked as a communications professional and project manager in the academic and corporate health care research sectors for the past seven years. She currently is a scientific writer for a whole-foods supplement company in Palmyra, Wis.