How Much Vitamin D Does A Woman Need?

by Dr. Daniel J. Heller November 18, 2011

The more we learn about vitamin D, the better it sounds. The latest study from Denmark was announced this week at the American Heart Association conference. It shows that vitamin D deficiency in women increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and death by 50%. This joins a long list of studies that show that Vitamin D is essential, not just for heart health, but also for proper immune function, bone health, cancer prevention, and more.  Although there are no studies yet to prove it, we suspect that there is a Vitamin D-PMS connection as well as a Vitamin D-PMDD relationship.

The best way to get vitamin D is from sunlight. Of course, many people avoid the sun because of skin damage and skin cancer concerns. Did you know, though, that your skin can make vitamin D even when you’re in the shade? The sun rays that allow your skin to make vitamin D can be absorbed when they bounce off of leaves, rocks, and buildings. So spending time outside, even if it is not directly in the sun, will work to boost your vitamin D level. Of course, if  you are wearing clothing or sunscreen that blocks sunlight from reaching your skin, this won’t work.

One of most overlooked vitamin D issues is that if you are dark-skinned, for instance Asian, South Asian, African-American, Native American, or otherwise have highly pigmented skin, the melanin (coloring) in your skin prevents you from being able to manufacture vitamin D without being outside, or out in the sun, for a prolonged period of time. This is particularly important in northern climates with long, cold winters.

Although most media sources mention eating fish livers (who does that?!) and drinking milk and orange juice as sources of vitamin D, this isn’t helpful advice. The best way to get vitamin D other than sunlight is from taking vitamin D supplements. It’s too hard, if not impossible, to get adequate vitamin D from food. This is especially true if a test determines you are deficient; if you have dark skin; or if you live in a northern climate.

Since the media doesn’t seem capable of telling the truth about supplements (or, perhaps, of telling truth from fiction when it comes to supplements) here is what a woman needs to know about vitamin D supplements: it is nearly impossible to overdose on vitamin D. We recommend taking 2000-5000 IU of vitamin D per day during the indoor months, particularly if you live in a northern part of the country.

Vitamin D isn’t first line treatment for PMS or for PMDD. But it is essential, and too many women just don’t have adequate an vitamin D level.  We’ll be talking more about how to understand lab tests for vitamin D in another post.

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The information and contents contained in this Web site has not been evaluated by the FDA. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or nursing, please consult a physician before taking any dietary supplement. If taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. You must be 18 years or older to purchase products. Individual results do vary.         

About The PMS Comfort Blog

The PMS Comfort Blog is our informal way of keeping you up to date on women’s health issues that we think are important; timely; underappreciated; useful; or just interesting. And, we’ll admit, sometimes we can’t resist poking some good-natured fun at the way the mainstream media portrays health, natural health, and women’s health issues. As always, we’d love to hear from you and are interested in knowing what you think and feel about these or other topics. Leave a comment for us, we’ll always respond. And, if there’s a women’s health topic that’s of interest to you, or that you find confusing, let us know! We want this blog to be helpful to you.


Dr. Daniel Heller is the primary author of this blog, the developer of our PMS Natural Relief Programs, and the founder of He is a holistic naturopathic doctor in Northern California with over 16 years experience helping thousands of women recover from PMS, PMDD, as well as helping women, children, and families find natural answers to all manner of health challenges.


PMS Comfort is here to support you with detailed, practical knowledge presented in a balanced manner you can trust. We are committed to educating, informing, and empowering womenregarding PMS, PMDD, and women’s health, and to providing natural relief for premenstrual symptoms.



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