How Does a High Dose of Vitamin D
affect you?

What high dose of vitamin D is too high? How will it affect you?

Once you have taken the decision to increase your Vitamin D levels to fight disease or such, these are important questions.

Is there a known level that becomes toxic for you?

High dose of Vitamin DHands reaching for UVB rays to create Vit D

There are some conflicting reports being issued by various health bodies, scientific research centers and government representative organizations on the importance of Vitamin D to our overall health. 

One area of special interest to me has been the positive effect Vitamin D has on assisting our bodies to combat skin cancers. 

So, what level is too much, or how can one distinguish what a high dose of vitamin D actually is?

Search more than 200 pages on this site...

One key fact to keep in mind, according to Dr. Bill Grant, is that deaths from squamous and basal cell carcinomas total about 1,500 Americans every year, where other deaths based on vitamin D deficiency, kill almost 1,500 Americans every day.

This certainly puts a different perspective on things and encouraged me to look into how much of a dose would I not only take myself, but recommend to others?

High dose of Vitamin D will help boost many aspects of your life, some of which include the ability to:

  • Protect against or combat all kinds of cancer, including melanoma
  • Keep your bones strong and healthy no matter whether very young and growing, middle aged or elderly
  • Support a healthy functioning kidney, so vital in cleansing all toxins from your body
  • Enhance muscle strength, whether fighting fit as an athlete, elderly with diminishing muscle strength or just an average person seeking to improve muscle performance
  • Maintain a healthy immune system
  • Enhance cardiovascular health status
  • Promote healthy teeth
  • Help your blood pressure to stabilize at optimal levels

Can you get a high dose of Vitamin D from the Sun?

UV rays and shadow lengthIf your shadow is longer than you are tall, you are not making much vitamin D

The first method of obtaining Vitamin D is seemingly the most efficient method. Not too long ago, researchers discovered the unique and truly remarkable ability of our skin to photosynthesize activated vitamin D directly from the sun's UVB rays.

So, if you make a habit of not just going into the sun on a regular basis, but go with your skin unprotected by either clothing or sunscreen, you can assist your body to fight cancer and other diseases as well as assist in fixing any damaged cells.

Although many experts agree that the best source by far of vitamin D is from the sun's UVB rays, there are many complicating factors involved as to whether or not you are able to get a high dose of Vitamin D from the sun. These factors include:

  • UVB rays must be able to reach you
    They will only penetrate the earth's atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of 50 from the horizon.
    If lower than 50, UVA rays, being longer, get through but UVB rays are actually reflected by the ozone layer. UVA rays do not create Vitamin D in our skin!
    There is a wonderful table provided by the US Navy for those who live in the USA to find out what times of the year your particular longitude and latitude will receive the sun's rays above the crucial 50.
  • Ozone concentration
    If the ozone layer is very thin or even non-existant, the likelihood that the UVB rays will penetrate unhindered and reach your skin is very high
  • Altitude
    The higher you are the more likely the UVB rays will reach your skin
  • Air pollution
    Decreases or filters out the amount of UVB rays reaching your skin
  • Ground covered by snow or ice
    This will cause refections that amplify the effect of how much UVB is reaching your skin
  • Cloud cover
    If the weather is cloudy or raining, the UVB rays will be blocked

The really important aspect in all of this, is to make sure you obtain a balance between getting enough exposure to the UVB rays to allow maximum vitamin D benefit, while also protecting yourself from any damage that may occur if you get too much sun and get sun burnt.

Alternatives to sunshine for a high dose of vitamin D?

If getting out into the sunshine when the sun's UVB rays are at the right angle is not possible, what are the alternatives?

Oral supplementation seems to be the best way in my view. Various foods contain Vitamin D, but not in any high doses. There are also many foods that contain Vitamin D fortification - especially dairy foods and cereals, but they are not at any level that could be considered to be a high dose of vitamin D.

A report was issued recently by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) after a 2 year study done by 14 nutrition experts on the beneficial and harmful effects of vitamin D. The resultant recommendations have been severely criticized by the various Vitamin D research communities where some have even gone so far as to state that the IOM research model was "precisely the wrong model for development of a nutritional policy."

A key accusation is that the recommended dose is so hopelessly low that it actually puts the health of the whole population in the United States at risk.

Further to that, other countries that look to the IOM for guidance would also be negatively influenced. Their recommendations were for :

  • 1-70 years
    600 IU/day of vitamin D and a serum 25(OH)D concentration (a precursor to the active form of vitamin D) of 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l)
  • 71 years or older
    800 IU/day

Based on observational studies from a wide variety of research projects there seems to be a general agreement that the optimal Vitamin D concentration is for at least 30 ng/ml and actually for optimum health, over 40 ng/ml. 

This is for normal, relatively healthy people.

If you have specific health issues there are various alternative recommendations available that involve much higher doses.

With a population where one third of Americans have serum 25(OH)D concentrations below 20 ng/ml. That's one in every three people! Effectively, one can look to the person on your right and then to the left and know that one of you 3 people have insufficient Vitamin D levels.

Doses recommended by the US Endocrine Society after their Vitamin D researchers looked into both skeletal and non-skeletal effects, are much more in line with being able to meet this target. ie. they recommended:

  • 1-18 years
    600-1000 IU/day Vitamin D
  • 19 years or older
    1500-2000 IU/day Vitamin D

However, if you read what The Vitamin D Council has to say about various circumstances where a high dose of Vitamin D is prescribed for different situations, the doses are much higher than the ones detailed above. 

In many instances they are once off high amounts and in other cases daily amounts over a short period.

In both these of these situations there may have been a prescription to assist in the treatment of a specific health condition. eg. Multiple sclerosis patients where a very strong link between Vitamin D deficiency and the condition has been shown, are often given doses of 6000IU per day and higher.

In other cases, daily amounts can be as much 5,000 - 10,000 IU/day over a few months in order to get your Vitamin D levels to an optimal level.


Vitamin D Council : "Does UV exposure decrease Melanoma Risk"

Vitamin D eases menstrual cramps

Vitamin D Council : "The tragedy of autism and the promise of vitamin-d"

New! Comments

Have your say... please leave me a comment in the box below.
Was this page helpful? Please share it. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.