Can I depend on supplements as my main or only source of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorus which are essential minerals for strong bones. Further studies have also shown that Vitamin D can help lessen the growth of cancer cells, decrease inflammation, and curb infections.1

Vitamin D Sources

Our bodies can create Vitamin D when we are exposed to the sun. Vitamin D can also be found in some of the foods we consume but there are not many to choose from. Some of these Vitamin D foods include:

  • Fatty fish like Tuna and Salmon
  • Cow liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolk

There are also some foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, these include:

  • Vitamin D fortified milk
  • Vitamin D-fortified cereals
  • Vitamin D-fortified yoghurt
  • Vitamin D fortified orange juice

Despite all these, there are many other factors that affect an individual’s ability to absorb and create Vitamin D. Some of these include skin colour, diet, lifestyle, access to Vitamin D foods, medication, age, health issues, and even gender.2

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious diseases depending on its severity. Some symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include exhaustion, weakness, bone pain, and even depression.3 In more severe cases, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss in bone density which causes osteoporosis, and it makes your bones more susceptible to fractures.

Children may also develop diseases like rickets which causes their bones to become soft and bend. As for adults, severe cases lead to osteomalacia which is similar to rickets for children where the bone softens due to a loss in density; causing muscle weakness and bone pains.2

Women are also more susceptible to a wide range of other issues like postpartum depression. Having Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy will affect the bone development of the foetus, leading to lower bone density and a high possibility of rickets. It has also been found that low levels of Vitamin D in pregnant women increase the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Infants also have an increased risk of developing asthma.4

Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D supplements are beneficial for everyone, even for individuals without Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. However, it is advisable to first consult a doctor before you decide to take Vitamin D supplements.

Doctors are able to conduct tests to better diagnose your current health and lifestyle to better advise on the right amount of dosage you require from supplements.

Vitamin D Dose and Levels

Women have higher risks when it comes to Vitamin D deficiency due to pregnancy.4 This increases the importance of Vitamin D for women, but is there a difference in how much Vitamin D a woman needs per day as compared to a man?

In general, men and women require the same amount of Vitamin D of around 600 IU a day. Infants require a little less of about 400 IU.3

For clearer reference, this table shows the minimum Vitamin D levels by age of an individual:



0–12 months

10 micrograms (mcg) or 400 international units (IU)

1–70 years

15 mcg or 600 IU

>70 years

20 mcg or 800 IU


With all that being said, there are many factors that affect the dose of Vitamin D an individual needs. Supplements are a great source of Vitamin D, especially for people with Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. It is crucial to consult a doctor before consuming these supplements.

If you’re looking for a professional doctor in Singapore, locate some of our partner clinics here or you can also contact us here with regards to any questions you may have about Vitamin D!

1) Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. “Vitamin D | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” Available at: Accessed 22 August 2022.
2) MedlinePlus. “Vitamin D Deficiency.” Available at: Accessed 22 August 2022.
3) Cleveland Clinic. “Vitamin D Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” Available at: Accessed 22 August 2022.
4) Scattergood, Gary. “OPINION: Why vitamin D is vital for women, especially in Asia.” Available at: Accessed 22 August 2022.
5) Kubala, Jillian. “Normal vitamin D levels: Ranges by age.” Available at: Accessed 22 August 2022.