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Confused About Vitamin D Dose

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Q. The label on my multivitamin says 400 IU of vitamin D3 is the daily recommended amount. In a recent column, Dr. Oz said men over 60 years old (like me) should take 1,000 IU of D3 daily. A doctor friend of mine says go with the government recommendation. I am confused. Can you help?

A. Requirements for supplementary vitamin D vary a lot, depending on the season and the person's lifestyle. That's because human skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. In most of the U.S., though, winter sunlight is inadequate for this--even if you wanted to go outside in your shirtsleeves.

The Institute of Medicine recently reviewed the evidence on vitamin D and came up with new recommendations. For men up to 70 years old, the recommended dietary allowance is 600 IU per day. Over 70, it increases to 800.

We think that might still be too low. For more information on this controversial question, we are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.

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I had numerous blood tests done. I received a call from the doctors office and I was told that I had a problem with not enough vitamin d, but I was not told what to do. Could this be one of the reasons that I have no energy?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IT'S POSSIBLE, BUT THERE'S NO WAY FOR US TO KNOW FOR SURE. PLEASE GET BACK IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DOCTOR FOR A RECOMMENDATION FOR VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION TO BRING YOUR LEVEL UP TO NORMAL.

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