The major issue with obtaining vitamin D from a pill is that you have to remember to take the pill. Nowadays, it’s easy to find supplements with 1,000 IU or even 2,000 IU per tablet or capsule. This wasn’t the case just a few years ago. You can readily find supplements where you find other vitamins. Any national brand will do. There is even a liquid supplement that has 500 IU per teaspoon, which is ideal for children and adults who don’t want to take a pill or have trouble swallowing pills.
Everyone from the age of one onward should be taking a 1,000 IU supplement daily in addition to a multivitamin that has 400 IU. In all, you will be ingesting between 1,500 and 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily among the supplements, multivitamins, and dietary sources. That’s perfectly fine and right on target. (Don’t forget to include calcium by drinking milk or orange juice containing calcium and vitamin D). If your doctor tests you and determines that you are deficient, then you can certainly up the dosage to 5,000 to 6,000 IU a day under your doctor’s care (again, this will be in addition to your multivitamin, so you’ll be ingesting up to 6,400 IU a day for two or three months in supplement form). Depending on your level of deficiency, your doctor may prescribe a more aggressive treatment, with high doses of vitamin D for a certain time period.
Remember that it doesn’t matter whether you take vitamin D2 or D3, though D3 appears to be the most available form now on the market. (D2 is the only form available as a pharmaceutical). You also needn’t worry about when or how to take it. Vitamin D supplements can be taken with food, with milk, or on an empty stomach. You do not need to ingest them with fatty food, contrary to a popular belief. It is recommended to take your vitamin D supplement when you take your multivitamin and any other supplements you might already be taking; get into the routine of taking this pill every day. Aging does not affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D either from the diet or from supplements. And there is no advantage to taking smaller doses more frequently rather than one large dose of 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day. This also means that you could take either 1,000 IU of vitamin D once a day or seven 1,000 IU of vitamin D supplements once a week. It will work the same way, though this is an impractical way to go, as you are more likely to forget. If you forget just one day, you can take two pills the next day.
Doctors recommend that everyone take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day (and preferably 2,000 IU) along with a multivitamin containing 400 IU of vitamin D, all year long. This will not cause any buildup of vitamin D in the body, newborns in their first year of life, it is recommended that at least 400 IU a day and up to 1,000 IU. This is perfectly safe and may be more beneficial than just 400 IU (remember, Finnish children who took 2,000 IU a day for the first year of life had a 78 percent reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes 31 years later). It is recommended that children between one and twelve years old take at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
Rectifying a vitamin D deficiency takes time. You won’t see blood levels rise overnight. Healthy adults taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day can reach their peak blood level in five to six weeks. For every 100 IU of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 you ingest, you raise your blood level of vitamin D by 1 nanogram per milliliter.