Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D and why is it important?

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in certain foods. It can also be made by our bodies after exposure to sunlight.
  • Vitamin D helps your body maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorous in your blood.
  • Together, Vitamin D and calcium are essential for strong, healthy bones. They can help prevent osteoporosis.

Am I at risk for low Vitamin D levels?

  • Everyone can benefit from a little more Vitamin D, but certain people may be at risk for low levels. Consider additional Vitamin D supplementation if you:
    • are over 50 years old
    • have been diagnosed with low bone density
    • get very little sun exposure
    • have kidney disease or another disease that affects absorption of minerals
    • are lactose intolerant
    • are vegan
    • have darker skin

How much Vitamin D do I need?

  • Current guidelines suggest that women get 1,000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D3 each day.
  • Sometimes, higher doses of Vitamin D may be recommended.
  • Unless specifically instructed by your healthcare provider, you should not take more than 2,000 IU per day.

Is there anything I should consider before starting Vitamin D?

  • Vitamin D can interact with some medications (such as drugs for high blood pressure and heart problems). If you take daily medications, check with your doctor before starting Vitamin D supplements.
  • Taken at normal doses, Vitamin D has very few side effects.
  • Signs of a possible overdose of Vitamin D include:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Weakness
    • Constipation
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Disorientation
    • Kidney or heart problems

Where can I get Vitamin D?

  • The best way to get Vitamin D is through sunlight. Just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) a couple times a week is usually enough to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. But we live in Oregon, so…
  • Vitamin D can also be found as a vitamin supplement. You can find Vitamin D tablets or capsules at most drug stores. Oral Vitamin D pills are sold in two forms: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 seems to have a stronger effect, so try to find this form.
  • There are a few foods that contain Vitamin D naturally and some others that have had Vitamin D added to them (like fortified milk or cereals). The list below can give you a good idea where to get Vitamin D in your food:



 Serving Size

 IU per serving

 Cod Liver Oil

1 tablespoon 

1,360 IU 

 Salmon (cooked)

 3 1/2 ounces

 360 IU

 Mackerel (cooked)

 3 1/2 ounces

 345 IU

 Sardines (canned, in oil, drained)

3 1/2 ounces 

 370 IU

 Milk (Vitamin D fortified)

1 cup 

 98 IU

 Margarine (Vitamin D fortified)

 1 tablespoon 

 60 IU

 Pudding (made with fortified milk)

1/2 cup

 50 IU

 Dry Cereal (Vitamin D fortified)

 3/4 cup

 40-50 IU

 Beef Liver (cooked)

3 1/2 ounces 

 30 IU


 1 whole

 25 IU

Location & Directions

Women's Health
Center of Southern
Oregon, PC
1075 SW Grandview Ave., Suite 200
Grants Pass, Oregon
P: 541-479-8363

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Wellness Topic

November is National Diabetes Month
Diabetes affects so many areas of a personal’s health and well-being. If you already have diabetes, regular check-ups with your primary care provider along with routine blood work are critical to helping you and your provider make the best care plan for your particular situation. If you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you can lower that risk with a few easy steps.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood glucose. If you are overweight, even losing 10-15 pounds can make a big difference!

Eating healthy food is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can seem hard to make healthy food choices, particularly if you are on a budget and short of time. The American Diabetes Association has some great resources for you, including recipes and healthy eating suggestions.

Even if you've never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day. You'll get benefits, even if your activities aren't strenuous. Once physical activity is a part of your routine, you'll wonder how you did without it!

For more information, please visit The American Diabetes Association website at