Does 600 IUs of Vitamin D Even Come Close to What We Need?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/11/2024

Getting enough vitamin D can be the difference between feeling energized throughout the day or lacking motivation and feeling lethargic.

Learn about the benefits of vitamin D, factors affecting your body's absorption of it, and what you can do to increase your intake and support your overall health.

The Importance of Sunlight Exposure

Getting enough sunlight is essential for optimal vitamin D synthesis. However, various factors can affect this process. The season and your geographical location play significant roles because they determine how much UVB radiation reaches you from the sun.

In winter or if you live far from the equator, you might get less UVB exposure, leading to lower vitamin D levels. It's why people in northern latitudes often need to supplement their diet with extra vitamin D during colder months.

Vitamin D capsules

Skin Type and Vitamin D Production

Your skin type also impacts how much vitamin D your body makes from sunlight exposure. Darker skins have more melanin, which protects against harmful UV rays but also reduces the efficiency of vitamin D production.

So, those with darker complexions may need more extended periods under the sun or additional dietary sources to maintain adequate levels of this critical nutrient.

The Impact of Body Composition on Vitamin D Absorption

It's well-known that our body composition can significantly influence how we absorb nutrients, including vitamin D. One key factor is obesity.

Obesity and Vitamin D Absorption

Individuals carrying extra weight have a tendency to produce less vitamin D than those with lower body fat percentages. But why does this happen? It's all about distribution.

Fat cells act like sponges, soaking up vitamin D and reducing its bioavailability. Even if you consume adequate amounts of vitamin D, your body may not be able to absorb it efficiently due to the fat cells' sponge-like behavior.

Research has shown, for example, that obese individuals must intake up to three times more vitamin D to achieve the same blood levels as someone with a healthy weight.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin D and Their Effectiveness

Cod liver oil might sound old-fashioned, but it's a powerhouse for vitamin D. One tablespoon can give you more than enough daily dose. But if swallowing oil isn't your thing, try tuna as an alternative.

Eggs, specifically the yolks, also provide a decent amount of this essential nutrient. And let's not forget dairy products such as milk and cheese fortified with vitamin D.

How Farming Practices Influence Vitamin D Content

How our food is grown also plays a role in its nutritional value. Free-range chickens with access to sunlight create eggs with more vitamin D than those confined in cages.

Wild-caught fish, boasting a richer nutrient profile due to their varied diets and natural habitats, often contain more significant levels of vitamins than farmed ones.

Research shows a substantial difference between them when discussing nutrients.

Health Conditions That Can Impair Vitamin D Absorption

Vitamin D absorption can be a tricky business, it requires careful planning and dedication. Various illnesses, though, may cause disruption the absorption process.

Chronic Conditions and Vitamin D Absorption

The body is a complex machine, but vitamin D absorption may take a hit when parts are stressed by chronic conditions such as inflammation or autoimmune diseases. Studies suggest that diabetes patients often have lower vitamin D levels due to poor absorption.

Lung problems, too, could slow down vitamin D intake. Metabolic syndrome is another possible culprit for decreased vitamin D uptake.

The Role of Nutrient Deficiencies in Vitamin D Absorption

Nutrients don't exist in isolation; they're more like an interconnected web. Without enough magnesium or zinc—critical players needed for efficient conversion of sunlight into usable forms—our bodies might struggle to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Research has shown that even deficiency in something seemingly unrelated, like B6, can hinder optimal absorption.

Genetic Factors and Vitamin D Absorption

Genetic defects affecting our receptor, which binds with vitamin D, could also lead to impaired absorption.

This demonstrates that, concerning health and nutrition, there is usually more than what appears on the surface.

The Influence of Medications on Vitamin D Absorption

Variety of supplements

Medications can be a hidden factor affecting your body's ability to absorb vitamin D. Among these, statins stand out because they block cholesterol production, an essential step in synthesizing vitamin D.

Statins and Vitamin D Absorption

Statins are commonly prescribed to manage high cholesterol levels. This class of drugs could interfere with how your body absorbs vitamin D.

Sunlight helps our skin convert cholesterol into precious vitamin D. When statins limit the amount of available cholesterol, it also means less raw material for your body to make its sunshine nutrient. This doesn't mean you should stop taking your prescribed medication, though.

Instead, consider ways to optimize absorption despite this hurdle: consuming more vitamin-D-rich foods, spending extra time outdoors during peak sun hours, or discussing supplement options with your healthcare provider.


While vitamin D is crucial for health, determining the right dosage can be complex. Deficiency is common due to factors like limited sun exposure.

Correcting deficiency requires consistent supplementation, with recommended doses typically around 10,000 IUs daily, adjusted for individual needs.

However, excessive intake can lead to toxicity, posing serious health risks like hypercalcemia. Consulting a healthcare provider is essential to ensure safe supplementation practices tailored to individual health needs and goals.

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan