Posted by: Chris Maloney | February 22, 2012

How Much Vitamin D and Vitamin A Should I Take? What About Carrot Juice?

Carrots of many colors.

Image via Wikipedia

I received the following comment about vitamin D and vitamin A.

Sorry to leave an off topic comment. I wasn’t sure where else to ask a general question. I was wondering what your thoughts are on vitamin D3. I have been doing a lot of research and it’s suggested to supplement magnesium and calcium as well. I take 20,000 thousand units a day and get my magnesium from organic vegetable juicing and about 400 mgs of magnesium in my gallon jug of water. I do get blood tests every few months.

Question 2.) I wanted to start taking a quality cod liver oil, but it doesn’t have as much vitamin d3 as the drops do. Is cod liver oil far more efficient for some reason? And is there to much vitamin A when combined with juicing two pounds of organic carrots a day?

Just curious what your thoughts are.

I appreciate the request.  I cannot, of course, diagnose or treat any individual via the web.  But I will comment on what I do in my practice for patients.

If one is supplementing active vitamin D, particularly for bone health, then calcium, magnesium and even boron are likely to be necessary.

At 20,000 Units a day for vitamin D, I’m glad you’re getting regular blood testing.  We’ve moved very rapidly from 800 IU to 2,000 IU and now I’m seeing patients self-treating with much higher amounts.  I’m personally comfortable with about 2,000 IU a day for those who need it, with the memory that synthetic vitamin A was a cure-all as well until we realized it wasn’t that great.  Now it’s not considered as a mega-dose possibility.  At that vitamin D dosage, I would expect that the parathyroids would become suppressed over time and you would want to be cautious about maintaining consistency about calcium intake.

2)  To my knowledge, an oil based vitamin D would be equally absorbed without cod liver oil giving any greater absorption.  I don’t recommend cod liver oil to my patients unless it has been molecularly distilled.  We unfortunately don’t live in an environment that I would want to take a concentrated part of a large fish for an extended period without some testing.  There should be little impact from the carrots on the vitamin A.  The vitamin A from carrots is in the much less toxic form of beta-carotene, which provides the body with the material to convert to vitamin A without forcing the conversion.  I have a number of self-prescribing acquaintances who are quite orange from beta-carotene overindulgence without other ill effects


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