Benefits of vitamin D + food sources + dosage + everything you need to know

Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins (fat-soluble). It can either come from food or be synthesized from a cholesterol derivative under the action of the sun’s rays. There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3. It is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the intestine. Vitamin D is also essential to avoid rickets (a growth disease that manifests in the bones). We will discuss in this article the main benefits of vitamin D and the recommended dosage.

Main health benefits of vitamin D

Weight management

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to obesity and difficulty losing weight. One study found that women who had higher levels of vitamin D and on a diet where calories were controlled lost more weight than those with low levels of vitamin D.

Currently, there is no clear evidence that vitamin D deficiency causes obesity, or that obesity causes vitamin D deficiency. If you are having trouble losing weight, consider checking your vitamin D levels

Nervous system and Cancer

Several studies have shown that people with low vitamin D levels may have difficulty making decisions and have difficulty with tasks that require special attention.

In addition, several studies have found that proper vitamin D levels reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.

Bone and muscle health

Eating more foods rich in vitamin D plays a key role in absorbing calcium and helping to keep bones strong. It can also help maintain healthy muscles throughout life. Older people with appropriate vitamin D levels are more likely to be active, have better muscle strength, and are less likely to fall.

Vitamin D: Food sources

Food Portions Vitamin D*
Salmon, grilled or poached 100 g (3 ½ oz) 600-920 IU
Canned salmon 100 g (3 ½ oz) 320-760 IU
Grilled bluefin tuna
Marinated Atlantic herring
100 g (3 ½ oz) 280 IU
Grilled trout 100 g (3 ½ oz) 200-280 IU
Cow milk, 0% to 3.25% fat 250 ml (1 cup) 120 IU
Fortified soy beverage 250 ml (1 cup) 80 IU

* 1 microgram = 40 IU

Vitamin D: side effects

Vitamin D is generally safe when given by mouth or given as an injection into the muscle in recommended amounts. Most people do not usually experience side effects from vitamin D unless it is taken in too high doses. Side effects of an overdose of vitamin D include: weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting and others.

Taking vitamin D for long periods at doses over 4,000 units per day is potentially dangerous and can cause excessively high levels of calcium in the blood. However, much higher doses are often needed for the short-term treatment of vitamin D deficiency. This type of treatment should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Some interesting readings:

Special precautions and warnings:

  • Pregnancy and breast feeding : Vitamin D is normally safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding when used in daily amounts less than 4000 units. Do not use higher doses. Vitamin D may be harmful when used in higher amounts during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The use of higher doses can cause serious harm to the infant.
  • Kidney disease : Vitamin D can increase calcium levels and increase the risk of “hardening of the arteries” in people with severe kidney disease. This must be balanced with the need to prevent renal osteodystrophy, a bone disease that occurs when calcium and phosphorus levels are too low. Calcium levels should be carefully monitored in people with kidney disease.
  • High levels of calcium in the blood : Taking vitamin D could make this condition worse.
  • “Hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) : taking vitamin D could worsen this condition, especially in people with kidney disease.
  • Sarcoidosis: Vitamin D can increase calcium levels in people with sarcoidosis. This could lead to kidney stones and other problems. Use vitamin D with caution.
  • Histoplasmosis : Vitamin D can increase calcium levels in people with histoplasmosis. This could lead to kidney stones and other problems. Use vitamin D with caution.
  • Overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism) : Vitamin D can increase calcium levels in people with hyperparathyroidism. Use vitamin D with caution.
  • Lymphoma : Vitamin D can increase calcium levels in people with lymphoma. This could lead to kidney stones and other problems. Use vitamin D with caution.
  • Tuberculosis : Vitamin D may increase calcium levels in people with TB. This could lead to complications such as kidney stones.

Vitamin D: Dosage


  • To prevent osteoporosis and fractures : A dosage of 400-1000 IU (international unit) per day has been used for the elderly. Some experts recommend higher doses of 1000-2000 IU per day.
  • To prevent falls : 800-1000 IU / day in combination with calcium (1000-1200 mg / day).
  • To prevent multiple sclerosis : long-term consumption of at least 400 IU per day, mainly in the form of a multivitamin supplement.
  • To prevent all types of cancer : calcium per dose of 1400-1500 mg / day and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per dose of 1100 IU / day in postmenopausal women have been used.
  • For muscle pain caused by medicines called “statins” : Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (shock-alciferol), dose of 50,000 units once a week or 400 IU per day.
  • To prevent the flu : vitamin D (cholecalciferol) per dose of 1200 IU per day.

Most vitamin supplements contain only 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D.

Where to find vitamin D?

Quite simply on Amazon. Here is our selection:

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