How to get the right dose of Vitamin D?

Question: from Alison

There has been a lot of hype in the news lately about Vitamin D deficiency and about current FDA recommendations being way too low. What are your thoughts on Vitamin D dosages? Will Xtend-Life increase dosage amounts? Would love your advice!



Answer: from Warren

We feel that the current levels of Vitamin D recommended by the FDA are not too far off the mark. Probably a bit low but more sensible than some of the levels being touted in the media.

It is quite easy to overdose with Vitamin D, in particular the D2 form which is what many of the high dose supplements are. Vitamin D is an interesting nutrient and the supplement form is quite different to that which your body makes.

For example, when you expose yourself to sunshine, your body makes Vitamin D but not the activated form. It builds up in your fatty tissues and remains there and is released as your body needs it. This is why it is possible in the summer time to get enough Vitamin D from sunshine to last you through the winter.

In contrast Vitamin D in supplement form has a totally different action and acts differently in the body than the Vitamin D produced by sunshine. The body is designed to get its Vitamin D from the sun as opposed to ingesting it.

The liver is not familiar with having to process high doses of Vitamin D orally and this may be a factor why some people have problems with it. I am very much of the opinion that if levels of a specific ingredient are not possible to get by food intake then you are likely to put added stress on the body by forcing it to accept these levels.

High dose Vitamin D supplements come into that category as does high dose Vitamin C. Embrace the sun…sensibly… and then you won’t need to take high doses of Vitamin D. And, to answer your question whether we will increase the amount of Vitamin D in our products at this stage the answer is no, as we remain unconvinced on the long term benefits of doing so.

For those people who believe they should take more it is a cheap ingredient to buy and they can always take it in addition to their Total Balance.

12 Responses

Life Extension in the USA has raised their advice to ingest daily Vit D3 to at least 5000iu. This is based on a great deal of research that continues to emerge on the importance of this vitamin.
Your advice appears to be based on no evidence, but is your subjective belief.
The evidence has become overwhelming in favour to increase the daily dose of Vit.D3,as it appears to have a very favourable influence on our health.
Are you suggesting that all the multiple research in the past two years that suggest a higher dosage is required is incorrect?
I would strongly suggest readers to look up the LE website and their subject matter on this subject.
Personally I follow the evidence and take approx. 4000iu daily of Vit D3 ( less if I have been in the sun). Agreed that sun is the best way – we are lucky this summer in NZ! However many people avoid sun exposure due to the skin cancer risk. I try for 30 to 40 minutes daily to expose my trunk and legs which should give about 1000iu’s.

John April 09 2010

I’m trying to find  your vitamins called "The Life Extension Formula" to order it. Where can I get it?

N Shakir April 07 2017

The quote from the Vitamin D Council could also be interpretted not to get your 5000 IU of Vit D from milk or multivitamins because then you would also be ingesting large doses of all the other ingredients in them. I am happy that Total balance does not include extra high doses of Vit D. As Warren says, if you want to take higher doses of certain nutrients then you can do so with a seperate supplement. But for a multinutrient formula to be "balanced" you cannot have potentially harmful amounts of any ingredient in the formula.

Rick April 15 2010

Being used to a Warren being very precise and to the point, I somewhat resent the attempt to a sleight of hand in the above statement/comment:

"<span id= x_ctl00_ctl00_Content_Holder_Content_Column_Holder_BlogPosts1_ctl00_ctl00_commentsList_ctl00_commentsRepeater_ctl02_anonCommentContainer_ctl00_text >The point that is interesting here is their comment
‘Neither is advisable’ when referring to the intake of Vitamin D
by methods other than sun exposure

That is NOT implicated in the cited statement! They said (quote above text):

"<span id= x_ctl00_ctl00_Content_Holder_Content_Column_Holder_BlogPosts1_ctl00_ctl00_commentsList_ctl00_commentsRepeater_ctl02_anonCommentContainer_ctl00_text >To obtain this amount from
milk one would need to consume 50 glasses. With a
m u l t i vitaminmore than 10 tablets would be necessary. Neither is advisable"

I would normally refrain from pointing this out, but with someone who’s rigor and diligence in scrutiny tend to impress me, such an obvious dialectic manipulation is not acceptable. They do not refer to ’methods [of VitD3 intake] other than sun light exposure, but to (example one is granted) taking 10 pills of MULTI-Vit. The non-advisability of that is too obvious to further elaborte on it.
Maybe there is another line of text, referring explicitly to all other forms of intake, or even specifically to pure VitD3 preparations like OleoVit here in Europe, but… that is not quoted here.

a minor, but to me important correction April 16 2011

Hi John,

Life Extension Foundation has a tendency to advocate mega doses of quite a few vitamins. Fair enough, but we don’t agree with that position even though the vitamins referred to are very inexpensive relative to most other nutrients. Instead, we focus on improving the efficacy of our supplements by using a broad range of nutrients.

I agree that there is research around to support the intake of mega doses of vitamins but there are also experts who support a contrary position. Over the years I have looked at a lot of the evidence both for and against and I am firmly of the belief that it is not necessary to take mega doses of Vit D.

It has recently become quite a fad and as usual with such a thing there are schools of thought who believe more is better.

There is no evidence that I have seen supporting the long term safety of high doses of Vit D as the trials do not go that long. There is however evidence of negative side effects. We do get customers from time to time who have been taking high doses of Vit D telling us about problems they have had with it.

It is not natural for the human body to ingest that amount of Vit D (5000IU+) in supplement form. Any vitamin taken in mega doses has the potential to create an imbalance in the body. We would rather play it safe for our customers and those who are convinced that high dose Vit D is a good thing can always get extra and still take it with our Total Balance or other supplements.

I do accept that there may be cases in which high dose Vit D may be important in cases where someone has a severe deficiency through zero exposure to the sun…but, that is rare and in my opinion should only be for a short period and then the dose rate dropped back to a much more conservative level.

It is interesting to consider the view of the Vitamin D council. Here is an except from their website.

Sunshine and Your Health

If well adults and adolescents regularly avoid sunlight exposure, research indicates a necessity to supplement with at least 5,000 units (<abbr title= International Units class= x_novisual >IU) of vitamin D daily. To obtain this amount from milk one would need to consume 50 glasses. With a multivitamin more than 10 tablets would be necessary. Neither is advisable.

<p class= x_exmarg >The skin produces approximately 10,000 <abbr title= International Units class= x_novisual >
IU vitamin D in response 2030 minutes summer sun exposure50 times more than the
<abbr title= United States class= x_novisual >US government’s recommendation of 200
<abbr title= International Units class= x_novisual >IU per day!

The point that is interesting here is their comment ‘Neither is advisable’
when referring to the intake of Vitamin D by methods other than sun exposure. The body can store Vit D for months and when it is possible to get all the body’s needs from the sun it doesn’t make sense to take high doses of it by supplements.

I think that the Life Extension Foundation would be better serving their members by telling them to try and get their annual Vit D requirements from the sun and only supplement at high dose rates IF they totally avoid the sun and then do so with caution. But, to make a blanket recommendation that all their members take 5000IU’s up to 10,000IU’s with no qualification to exempt those member who do get sun exposure…is in my option…wrong.

Warren Matthews April 10 2010

What can you tell me about vitamin D12?  I recently had a blood test that included a vitamin D12 test.  It showed I had a deficiency, but I am having trouble finding information on vitamin D12.  Thanks for your help.

Dave April 18 2010

Actually a point of correction. LEI recommends that you get a Vitamin D blood test to gauge how much Vitamin D you need. nonetheless they are definitely in the more is best camp.

Ken April 15 2010

I don’t get you people.
Where else can you get an answer from a CEO of any pharmaceutical manufacturing corporation, that too an honest one about your health requirements?
Clearly they have designed every nutrient according to certain standards, bioavailability, efficacy in a maximum synergistic mix all carefully planned.
If your body gets every nutrient appropriately, there should be no reason to seek additional vitamin levels as more is NOT always good.
Think about how the TB series is designed – you get smaller pills with perfect levels, designed to increase your body’s absorbtion rate and support regular functions.
Do not discount the fact your body produces its own vitamins when required.
I myself bought the 1000 IU drops from the store only to realize that we do not require more than 600-800IU’s per day, though your body has its own stores of every nutrient and can reproduce it at will or via help from the Sunlight. (Since I bought those, I discontinued using them entirely unless I skip my alternate vitamin dose, then I pop a drop or two(max).)
The idea is your body should not develop a dependency on these but use the nutrients to boost your system back to normalization from the overdrive state it usually is in for alot of people due to stress, malnutrition and other factors.

Facts speak for themselves: -
Clearly he (Warren) is living proof and his own health should be an example to follow.
I think he’s earned my implicit trust over such a long time of reading his blogs/taking vitamins/omegas, and the research I have done over many websites on the Internet and debating with researchers/doctors/sports fitness advisors(sports medicine)/nutritionists, etc.
In short: 600-800 International Units are perfect should you consider supplementing in the first place. (PS. Light may bend at certain angles and get scattered but it(The Sun) is generally inescapable, no matter where you are in this solar system – so treat your body with care for you only have 1).


mystic May 08 2010

I have M.S. and the recommended level in the Blood is 60-70 for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

My level continues to be at the low end of normal after taking 5000 IU for several years. (It was at an acceptable level for some time but has dropped)

My neurologist, who is an M.S Specialist, has advised me to increase my D3 intake to 7000 IU and as usual my blood will be tested periodically.

I am 77 years old…..and do not get a lot of sun exposure.

Sooooooo, we are all different and there are exceptions.

I agree that high doses definitely should be taken only under the supervision of a physician and with periodic blood testing.

Rassie July 30 2012

Hello Cynthia

We have a very clear view about supplemental Vitamin D as expressed by Warren in this blog entry. To summarise, we totally agree that Vit D is a healing power house essential for balanced blood pressure, heart health, prostate health, colon health, immune function and more.

The amount in our TB range is specially calculated to work synergistically with all out other nutrients for maximum efficacy. So additional amounts should not be required. However, for those needing more by far the best and healthiest source is direct sunlight on naked skin for at least 15 mins daily without synthetic sunscreen which can be dangerous (see for why).

There is also the question of timing when it comes to sun exposure! When is the safest time to sun tan? Dr. J Moan and colleagues show how vitamin D production by the skin is much greater at midday than in early morning or late afternoon, and that the risk of developing melanoma is also much less at midday.

A greater percentage of UVA, which can cause damage to the lower layers of the skin, is available in the sunlight in the morning hours. Whereas most UVB that stimulates vitamin D production is available at midday. Therefore, the best time for healthy D production and for least damage is midday.

Be aware that overdosing with Vitamin D is easy and can be dangerous. In supplement form, Vit D is different to that which your body makes. This leads to the concern that it is not just the right amount that matters, but the right form.

Vitamin D2 is often crammed into supplements and prescription pills because…it’s dirt cheap. Vitamin D3, however, is as premium as it gets. In fact, scientists at Creighton University and Medical University of South Carolina proved with a controlled, double-blind study that revealed vitamin D3 is 300% more effective than D2.

Scientists noted that both forms raised vitamin D blood serum levels, but while vitamin D2 reached its peak and died out in just 3 days, vitamin D3 kept on climbing the charts and didn’t peak for 14 days! Even better, D3 maintained high blood serum levels for the entire study, while D2 plummeted down the charts after its peak.

We only use the Cholecalciferol, natural form of Vitamin D3. Please also look at how you can increase your Vit D through your diet. Wild salmon and organic, Omega 3 eggs are good sources. However, we recommend that you do not exceed an extra 1000IUs a day.

Xtend-Life Expert May 21 2010

Hi Mystic,

Ive spoken to Warren about thishe appreciates your comments and agrees with your regime.

Xtend-Life Expert May 11 2010

Hi N Shakir,

Perhaps you are looking for our age-defying <a href= /information/supplements/tb >
Total Balance range which is a complete nutrient system? Please follow the link or contact our Customer Service representatives ( who will be happy to help you.

Thank you.

Customer Relations April 12 2017

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