How Much Vitamin D Is Too Much
Too Much of a Good Thing? How Much Vitamin D Is Too Much?
You can think of vitamin D as your bones’ best friend. You’ve probably heard that this vital vitamin works together with calcium to promote bone health and strength in older adults. But you might not know that it also performs the same function in children and younger adults while also supporting muscle and immune health in all age groups.
So, if this vitamin is so beneficial for bone, muscle and immune health, can you have too much vitamin D? Read on to learn more about this vitamin, vitamin D level, how much of it you need each day and how much vitamin D is too much. Also, if you would like to learn more about vitamin D intake, check out our vitamin quiz!
What is vitamin D, and why do you need it?
Before we go any further, let’s talk about what vitamin D is. First, vitamin D, aka calciferol, is what’s called a “fat-soluble vitamin,” which means it gets stored in fat cells.
Just like we mentioned earlier, vitamin D is important for supporting muscle and immune health. You also need it for building and maintaining healthy bones. This relates back to the vitamin’s relationship with calcium, which is the main mineral of bone. It turns out that vitamin D is necessary for optimal calcium absorption and supporting your body’s calcium level.
How do you get vitamin D?
You can get vitamin D from different sources, and food is one of them. However, only a select number of foods naturally contain this vital nutrient. Some examples include fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk and mushrooms. Some foods in America, such as cow’s milk, certain milk alternatives, breakfast cereals and orange juice, have also been fortified with vitamin D.
Food isn’t the only source of this nutrient. Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for a reason, as getting sun exposure can help your body produce vitamin D3. But food sources and sunlight alone are typically not enough to help most of us get the recommended dose of vitamin D.
How much vitamin D do you need?
You might be surprised to learn how many people are low in vitamin D. Research shows that 95% of the U.S. population isn’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. This is quite a nutrient gap. However, vitamin D supplementation can help address this nutrient shortfall to avoid a deficiency.
When it comes to vitamin D, the amount that you need depends on your age. To support bone health, people between the ages of 19 and 71 should generally get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day, and those 71 and over should increase this amount to 800 IU.
To ensure that you’re receiving all the health benefits of the sunshine vitamin, including supporting muscle and immune health, you’ll want to aim for 1500-2000 IU each day of this dietary supplement. However, keep in mind that you may have different needs, so always consult with your healthcare provider before you start taking any supplements.
Can you have too much vitamin D?
Now you might be asking yourself, “How much vitamin D is too much?” or “Can you have too much vitamin D?” It’s nearly impossible to get too much vitamin D from spending time in the sun or eating foods that contain the sunshine vitamin. In fact, you’re much more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than you are to be taking too much of it.
If you’ve added a vitamin D supplement to your diet to address a nutrient gap, you can avoid getting too much of this nutrient by following the recommendation guidelines and not going over the recommended dose. If you are taking a high dose of vitamin D for a diagnosed deficiency, be sure to work closely with your health care provider. He or she can help you stay safe and healthy by monitoring you with blood work.
You should also visit your health care provider to have your vitamin D blood level checked if you experience any signs of vitamin D toxicity. These symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting. Additionally, you should check with your health care provider before taking a vitamin D supplement if you have kidney disease or hypercalcemia.
Achieving the right balance with vitamin D
Getting the recommended amount of vitamin D comes down to knowing how much of the sunshine vitamin you need each day and following the advice of your health care provider and all dosage guidelines for this vital vitamin. Doing so will help you get the recommended amount of vitamin D for your unique health and lifestyle needs.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.
 US Department of Health and Human Services. “Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” 2020. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed on January 6, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
 Reider CA, Chung RY, Devarshi PP, Grant RW, Hazels Mitmesser S. Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients. 2020;12(6): E1735. Published 2020 Jun 10. doi:10.3390/nu12061735 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32531972/
 Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
 Holick MF, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J. Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21646368/
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