Vitamin D Supplements Explained by ConsumerLab's Dr. Tod Cooperman

Hi I'm Dr. Tod Cooperman, president and founder of, and I'm here

to talk about vitamin D supplements. Now ConsumerLab

just finished testing vitamin D supplements. We've tested hundreds and

hundreds of vitamin D supplements over the years. We've been testing these types

of products and all the types of supplements since 1999 and publishing

them on I'm going to tell you basically what does vitamin D

do, do you need it, how much should you take, what type should you take --

essentially soup to nuts, quickly, about vitamin D. So, first of all, why is vitamin

D important? Well, it's an essential nutrient. You must get vitamin D either

from the sun, or from your food, or supplements. You need to get about

600 I U [15 mcg] per day; if you're over 70 it's 800 IU [20 mcg]; for babies one year and younger,

it's 400 IU [10 mcg]. Now vitamin D is important because, one, it's critical for bone

health, so if you don't have the right level, your bones won't be as strong; it

helps you, basically, absorb, use calcium. Second, it actually reduces the risk of

heart attacks and stroke. It actually also reduces the risk of asthma and

allergy and various types of inflammation. People who get the

right amount of vitamin D actually tend to live longer than those who are

deficient or have way too much. We've also been not only testing supplements

for all these years -- and vitamin D -- but following the literature very closely.

There's a lot of discussion about, really, how much should you get, what's the right

blood level, and when you really boil it down, what you find is that if you get

too little or too much, it's not a good thing.

Right in the middle is where you want to be, and that sweet spot is around 25 to

35 nanograms [ng] per ml, that's what you'll see on your blood tests. Now, there's

a lot of discussion about, really, where should that range be: I can tell you

from all the research we've done and from the studies that are coming out

over and over, that's really a very good place to be.

Really anywhere above 20 ng per ml -- or n nanograms per ml -- is good. You don't

really want to go over 39 or 40. Now how do you get to that level if you're not

there? The rule of thumb is, basically, 100 IU per one nanogram per milliliter. So if

you want to go up by one point, you need about 100 IU extra, basically, above what

you've been getting lately per day. So if you want to go up from some, say

20 to 25, you'll need 500 IU. Now, if you're obese, vitamin D is fat soluble, so it

kind of gets distributed over more fat; you may have to double that amount, so

instead of of taking 500, you might have to take 1,000 IU. You don't want

to take too much vitamin D. You know companies will sell you any amount you

want to take. There are products with 400 IU, 600, a thousand, two thousand,

five thousand. We've tested one that has 10,000. I would stay away from taking

very high levels of vitamin D, in fact the upper tolerable intake limit is

4,000 IU. But, really, if you're taking up to a thousand or even 2,000 a day that's

safe. Now, if you don't need it, you're already at twenty-five or thirty

nanograms per ml, I wouldn't bother taking vitamin D, because you don't

want to put yourself, really, at harm or start reducing the benefits that

you're getting from vitamin D, and you can get adequate vitamin D just from the

sun -- 15 minutes a day on your hands, arms, and face is sufficient, and you can get it

from various foods as well and dairy foods that are fortified with vitamin D.

Now the types of products that are out there range from liquids to tablets to

gummies. I prefer the liquids. I'd recommend you use a liquid, and for two

reasons. First of all, they're very convenient. You

can easily adjust the dose if you're sharing it with your family -- you know

your kid needs a smaller amount, you need a higher amount, you can easily do

that with a liquid based on the number of drops that you use, and secondly, and

even more importantly, vitamin D, being fat soluble

is better absorbed when you take it with food [on which you can put liquid vitamin D] that has fats and oils. Because when

you take it with food with fats and oils, that basically stimulates the secretion

of bile into your small intestine. That bile breaks up fats, helps you absorb fat

soluble vitamins much better -- you can get 30 to 50 percent more vitamin D by

taking it with a meal that has fats and oils than if you were just to take it

with a glass of water. And you could take it slightly before the meal, or during

the meal, just don't take it way after the meal. So basically, in a nutshell,

that's vitamin D. You really want to make sure you're getting enough. If you have

enough, don't take more. If you're not, take a supplement or get it from food or

get a little more sunshine. You can read our report, where we've actually tested,

analyzed all these products. Unfortunately, not all of them had all

the vitamin D that they claim to have, so you want to make sure you're buying a

good product and that's why we do test these products and publish these reports.

if you have any questions or comments you can post them where you see this

video. So, again, this is Dr. Tod Cooperman with

Thank you.