Frequently Asked Questions

If I get enough sun for the whole week in one day – is that enough?

Yes, your body can store vitamin D in fat tissues for up to six months which it can draw on as required.

If I don’t have menopause, are my bones still at risk?

Yes, as there are several factors which affect vitamin D levels and therefore bone density. E.g. skin colour, time in the sun, age, being overweight, clothing coverage, some diseases and particular medications.

What are the signs of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Signs of Vitamin D deficiency include muscle weakness and bone pain but these symptoms are not always present.

What is the best type of calcium for absorption?

Two popular forms of calcium in supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate depends on stomach acid for absorption and is absorbed most efficiently when taken with food, whereas calcium citrate is absorbed equally well when taken with or without food. Calcium citrate is also useful for people with low stomach acid, or absorption disorders.

Can I have too much calcium?

Yes, like most things, you can have too much calcium. The upper limit for the recommended daily dose of calcium is between 1000mg and 1300mg.

Can I have too much Vitamin D?

Yes, although for the body to reach toxic levels of vitamin D, very high amounts would need to be taken. You will not consume too much vitamin D from a supplement when used at the recommended dosage. If you are taking medications consult your GP before taking any supplements.

My partner has been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. Am I at risk?

No, a deficiency of vitamin D is not contagious however if you are sharing lifestyle risk factors you may wish to consult with your GP to check your vitamin D levels.

What information can I take to my GP to begin a conversation about Osteoporosis and Vitamin D deficiency?

If you are concerned that you may have a vitamin D deficiency you should print out our GP checklist and discuss it with your GP. Your Doctor can arrange a simple blood test which will determine if a deficiency is present. To help determine if you may be deficient in vitamin D, try taking this test

How does Vitamin D help to repair muscles or strengthen them?

Vitamin D is believed to improve muscle tone and strength, as there are vitamin D receptors in striated muscle, and vitamin D appears to play a role in the signalling that is responsible for muscle protein synthesis.

Will Vitamin D and Calcium restore my bone density?

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and helps to form and maintain strong bones. A study of a group of people above 50 years of age shows that taking vitamin d 800IU together with 1200mg of calcium, increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.

Do I have to take calcium with Vitamin D?

No, you don’t need to take calcium with vitamin D for vitamin D to be utilised in the body. However, if your diet is lacking in calcium, it may be beneficial to take the two nutrients together. Vitamin D helps calcium absorption in the body.

When should I start taking Vitamin D?

If you are in doubt about whether or not you are deficient in vitamin D, have a chat to your GP. Your doctor can arrange a simple blood test which will determine if a vitamin D supplement is required or not.

Does my weight affect my Vitamin D level?

Yes. Vitamin D stores are stored deep in body fat, making it less bioavailable.

Does my racial heritage and skin colour affect how much Vitamin D I can absorb from the sun?

Yes, darker skin tones contain more melanin pigmentation compared to fairer skins. Melanin lessens how much of the sun’s UV rays the skin can absorb and convert to vitamin D.

Are people with darker skin pigments at more risk?

Yes, people with naturally darker skin have more of the skin pigment melanin. This acts as a filter to UVB (Ultraviolet B) radiation and reduces the amount of vitamin D the body makes.

How much more sun exposure do I need if I have darker skin?

Darker skin tones do require more sun than fairer types. Your geographical location will also affect this requirement. Osteoporosis Australia recommends that people with dark skin require 3 to 4 times longer sun exposure to obtain adequate vitamin D levels.

Do my regular pregnancy supplements give the right dose of Vitamin D and Calcium?

Generally, a multivitamin will not contain adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium for the increased needs of pregnancy. Multivitamins usually contain a little bit of a lot of ingredients. Therefore it is usually more beneficial to use a product that specifically provides vitamin D and calcium in higher amounts. It is a good idea to check with your healthcare professional if you are not sure.

Should my kids be taking a Vitamin D supplement?

Adequate vitamin D is vital for bone growth, maintenance and development in children. If your child is not receiving sufficient vitamin D through adequate sun exposure and vitamin D rich foods, a supplement may be beneficial.

Does Vitamin D make my baby stronger?

Yes, vitamin D is vital for bone density and bone and muscle strength. In pregnant women the requirement for vitamin D increases due to calcium deposition and bone mineralisation in the developing baby.

Is it too late to do anything about loss in bone density?

Studies suggest it’s not too late to improve your bone health. There have been numerous studies where vitamin D and/or calcium were given to elderly groups. Many of these have shown favourable results, with increases in bone mineral density and a reduction in bone loss.

Do Vitamin D and calcium supplements interact with any other types of medication?

Yes, supplemental vitamin D and calcium may interact with some medications. Before staring supplementation, it is recommended that you discuss this with your GP.

Is it OK to take a Vitamin D and calcium supplement while I am trying to conceive, during pregnancy and lactation?

Yes, in fact there is an increased need for vitamin D and calcium at this time. Ensure you follow the product’s recommended dosage.

What is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D?

Age Group Adequate Intake
Children 1-18 years 5 mcg (200IU)
Men 19-50 years 5 mcg (200IU)
Men 51-70 years 10 mcg (400IU)
Men > 70 years 15 mcg (600IU)
Women 19-50 years 5 mcg (200IU)
Women 51-70 years 10 mcg (400IU)
Women $gt; 70 years 15 mcg (600IU)
Pregnancy 14-50 years 5 mcg (200IU)
Lactation 14-50 years 5 mcg (200IU)

Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing, National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. 2005.

What are the Vitamin D deficiency risk factors for men? How do they differ for women?

Vitamin D deficiency risk factors are the same for women and men. I.e. insufficient sun exposure, age, skin tone, and the presence of malabsorption conditions.

How does clothing density affect Vitamin D absorption?

In materials, a tight weave allows less UV radiation through material reaching your skin and therefore less vitamin D is synthesized in our bodies. For example, UV rays will penetrate lace easily compared to denim.

How much skin needs to be exposed to sunlight for adequate Vitamin D absorption each day?

The answer to this is dependant on several factors including geographical location. Follow this link to see recommendations from Osteoporosis Australia

Can I get enough Vitamin D from my food?

Vitamin D from dietary sources alone generally won’t provide enough vitamin D to meet daily requirements.