Vitamin D Deficiency

What is the treatment for a vitamin D deficiency?

The amount of vitamin D that is needed to correct a deficiency will depend on the severity of the deficiency. When the blood level is below 30 ng/mL, a minimum of 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 will be needed for children and 1,500 to 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for adults. Another rule of thumb is for every 1 ng/mL increase in your blood level you need an additional 100 IU/vitamin D per day.

A task force for the Endocrine Society reviewed the research and made the following recommendations:

  • For children 1-18 years of age who are vitamin D deficient, we suggest treatment with 2,000 IU/d of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 for at least six weeks or with 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 once a week for at least six weeks to achieve a blood level of 25(OH)D above 30 ng/ml, followed by maintenance therapy of 600-1,000 IU/day.
  • We suggest that all adults who are vitamin D deficient be treated with 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 once a week for eight weeks or its equivalent of 6,000 IU of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 daily to achieve a blood level of 25(OH)D above 30 ng/ml, followed by maintenance therapy of 1,500-2,000 IU/day.
  • In obese patients, patients with malabsorption syndromes, and patients on medications affecting vitamin D metabolism, we suggest a higher dose (two to three times higher; at least 6,000-10,000 IU/day) of vitamin D to treat vitamin D deficiency to maintain a 25(OH)D level above 30 ng/ml, followed by maintenance therapy of 3,000-6,000IU/day.

For optimal absorption, you want to take your supplement with the meal that contains the most fat. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and requires fat for absorption. A recent study instructed people to take their supplement with their largest meal (typically the one with the most fat), and in three months, their blood levels went up an average of 56.7%.

Reviewed on 7/14/2014