Vitamin D: What’s The Optimal Range?

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Reviewed March 2016

By now many of you have heard how important vitamin D supplementation is. In fact, in one of the latest Hay House books, The Vitamin D Revolution, author Dr. Soram Khalsa points out that in some studies up to 50% of pregnant women are deficient in vitamin D, which means that their babies are born deficient in vitamin D. The average prenatal vitamin contains only 400 IU of vitamin D, and in fact that’s the recommended daily allowance for adults. But the problem is that so many people are sub-optimal in their vitamin D range that they could take 400 IU for the rest of their life everyday and never budge.

Vitamin D is necessary for the health of every cell in the body. In fact, a recent study showed that women with the best vitamin D levels were the ones who survived breast cancer longer. And the women with breast cancer with the lowest levels died 70% sooner. So it was very statistically significant.

Now at the end of that study they did what I’ve been reading for 30 years. They said preliminary, this is preliminary data only and we need more studies before suggesting that anyone with breast cancer take extra vitamin D. Now, I have to tell you, I have been around for a long time and I’ve watched that kind of reasoning for years and years and years. Getting your vitamin D into the optimal level has no risks whatsoever.

So, since there are so many benefits, why not get your vitamin D level optimal now whether or not you have a disease right now? Those with the highest vitamin D levels have the lowest risk of MS, arteriosclerosis, breast cancer, bowel cancer and just general overall health. In fact, a brand new study just came out showing that women with low vitamin D levels have the most bacterial vaginosis. That’s that kind of discharge where Monistat doesn’t work and it’s not yeast and it drives women nuts and on and on and on. If you just get your vitamin D level into the optimal range, guess what? Your vagina will also feel better.

What’s the optimal range? It’s 50 to 100. And the test that you want to ask for, and this is important, is you need 25-hydroxy vitamin D. So that’s what you ask your health care practitioner to order, 25-hydroxy vitamin D. You could also go to and you don’t need a doctor’s prescription so that you can get your blood ordered that way. The vitamin D level should be between 50 and 100, and I can tell you the vast majority of you listening to this will go and get yourself tested and you’ll find that your level is 30 or 20.
Guess what? The vast majority of the population of the United States lives above the 35th parallel where you can’t get any vitamin D from the Sun between November and March. So you need a way to supplement with vitamin D. And you usually take high doses of vitamin D3 10,000 IU, which you’ll need to get from your health care practitioner, you do five of those, that’s 50,000 IU of vitamin D every Sunday, once on a Sunday, five capsules for eight weeks and then you have it redrawn. This will push vitamin D into your cells.
By the way, one 30-minute Sun bath over as much of your body as possible will give you 20,000 IU. The Sun is very, very generous. But for many people, they can’t get the Sun exposure they need and so supplementation is the answer.

By the way, Alaskan salmon, sockeye salmon, contains 600 IU in a three-and-a-half ounce serving, so salmon’s a good way to get vitamin D, cod liver oil’s a good way to get vitamin D.

Most of us are going to need to supplement in addition to sun exposure. By the way, one of my doctor friends drew the blood of a surfer who was out in the Sun in Hawaii all the time. His vitamin D level was 90. I’ve never seen a level that optimal. But you can have it with a combination of a little wise Sun exposure and enough supplementation. And to me, this is prevention at its finest.

Update: have test kits available for home use. Plus a huge amount of great science on the topic.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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