How much Vitamin D do you need?
With 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin (without the application of sunscreen) 2-3 times a week between 10am and 3pm, you should be able to produce enough vitamin D. However, during periods of low sun, such as winter, you should try increasing your intake of vitamin D rich foods, or consult with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Below is a breakdown of the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) guidelines for vitamin D provided by the (IOM) Institute of Medicine in the US(1):
|Infants 0-12 months||400 IU (10 mcg)|
|Children 1-18 years||600 IU (15 mcg)|
|Adults to age 70||600 IU (15 mcg)|
|Adults over 70||800 IU (20 mcg|
|Pregnant or lactating women||600 IU (15 mcg)|
*One microgram (mcg) of Vitamin D is equal to 40 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D(1)
People who do not get enough vitamin D are ultimately left with a vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to serious side effects such as osteomalacia, which causes muscle weakness and severe bone pain. If a child suffers from vitamin D deficiency, they can often develop rickets, which makes their bones soft and eventually bends them. Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include chronic muscle aches and pain, fatigue, depression, experiencing infection or illness more often, impaired wound healing, obesity, hypertension, and hair loss.
A consultation with your healthcare provider is necessary should any of the above symptoms be experienced on an ongoing basis.
1. National Institutes of health - Office of dietary supplements. Available: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#en1