We stock and sell a 50,000IU Vitamin D capsule. Seeing as most over the counter Vitamin D supplements are between 1,000IU and 5,000IU per capsule, we get a lot of wide-eyed shock.

50,000 IU! WOW! That’s a lot of Vitamin D!

Ya think? Take just a few minutes to read this and allow your mind to be opened a little.

For vitamins, the International Unit (IU) is a calculated number based on biological activity. An IU of Vitamin D is not the same as an IU of Vitamin A or Vitamin E. To complicate the whole process, the final number is agreed upon by taking the consensus of the scientists who are defining the IUs. Fortunately, over the years, we have come to a definition of IU that relates directly to something we can measure, a weight, and it isn’t related to some made-up form of biological activity.

This is a good thing.

The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600 IU. The final set of guidelines, called RDAs for Recommended Dietary Allowances, was accepted in 1941 and they haven’t been adjusted even despite the fact that almost everything in health has changed over the past 79 years.

Vitamin D has become a hot topic recently because so many studies are highlighting how much disease is related to low Vitamin D levels.

Is 600 IU enough today? Of course not.

For one thing, most US citizens are frantically working to lower their cholesterol levels – even using potent drugs to help in their war against the numbers. One side effect of low cholesterol is low Vitamin D – because the human body makes its own Vitamin D through the interaction of cholesterol and sunlight. In addition to low cholesterol levels, people are warned to stay out of the sun – or slather on a chemical concoction that blocks the sun’s rays.

Some doctors step out on a limb and tell us to go up to 2,000 IU per day. How much is 2,000 IU? While it appears to be a lot, it’s only 50 micrograms (or 0.05 mg – that’s 5 one-hundredths of a milligram). 5,000 IU is 0.125 mg, still an almost infinitesimal amount.

Heck, it takes 30,000 mg to make an ounce, so 0.05 mg is no more than one six hundred thousandths of an ounce. No matter how you tweak the math, Vitamin D doses are low.

Many advanced health workers have been suggesting 5,000 IU per day as a routine amount, particularly when mixed with Vitamin K. We agree. In addition, there are times when a person might need a larger dose to ward off the effects for an infection (colds that come to us through crowds – school children are excellent incubators). For those times we can take 50,000 IU once or twice daily until the threat passes. While 50,000 IU seems like a lot, it is only 1.25 mg and it isn’t toxic at that level.