How Much Vitamin D?

Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium.

You can get vitamin D through:

  • Sunlight: Your skin makes vitamin D when you are exposed to ultra-violet light rays. But it can be difficult to measure the amount of vitamin D your skin makes on any given day.
  • Food: Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon and tuna) contain vitamin D. It’s also added to some dairy products, orange juice, soymilk and cereals.
  • Supplements

According to National Osteoporosis Foundation, here’s how much vitamin D you need every day:

  • Adults age 50 and older need 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D
  • Adults under age 50 need 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D

Want to learn more about how much vitamin D is in certain foods?
Click here for a list of vitamin D-rich foods.

Important Note:

It can be helpful to read food labels to see how much vitamin D you are getting in the foods you eat. But, if you are over 50, please keep in mind that food labels list vitamin D as a percentage of the recommended “daily value” (DV) for someone who needs only 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day. As a person over the age of 50, you will need at least double the total DV that appears on food labels.


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