Might some people need to supplement Vitamin D3?


I’ve been on Soylent about 85% of the time for nearly two months, and i’d say it’s been pretty good. More steady energy, more cognitive focus, etc :D.

However, I noticed Rob’s recommendations listed no Vitamin D3 requirements. Upon investigation, although it makes sense based on his location and likelihood of sun exposure, as it is synthesised when you’re exposed to particular kinds of UV light, it might not depending on your occupation, location and exposure to sunlight (office workers, night owls and UK/Northern Hemisphere dwellers, this is mainly for you ^.^). It’s required for Calcium and Phosphorus absorption (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php) and appears to help in various other areas such as muscle function (an important note for the bodybuilders and exercise enthusiasts here - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130317221446.htm). Although it is contained in some foods, the quantities aren’t nearly enough to cover NDAs unless you eat a lot of specific foods, and it’s besides the point of Soylent in some ways.

Although different sources state a range of different amounts of sun exposure required to synthesise an adequate amount of D3, and as it also depends on what UV index you’re exposed to, some current research suggests, “approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis” (http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/) although theres other research that suggests that the RDAs are low. Also, the rays that cause your body to generate D3 don’t penetrate glass, so you have to be outside and exposed in some way to light. The previously linked article goes on to say that complete cloud reduces UV effectiveness by 50%, and shade by 60%.

Although I happen to be someone who definitely needs some supplement as a night-dweller and student, I think people who live in areas such as the UK and/or who keep indoors most of the time should investigate oral supplements or a UV lamp for this. Although i’ve seen it in a few soylent mixes such as the Hacker DIY one, and I’m not sure whether posting this is a little pointless, but I wanted to bring it up just in case I guess XP.


There’s little harm in supplementing vitamin D. My multivitamin has it, but I also eat foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk.


Good question. A lot of folks supposedly are very low, so yes I think extra supplementation is well worth considering for some people. It does however seem to be very individualistic as to the amount you need to reach optimum levels, so this is one where you would need to tailor it according to personal test results. You don’t want to go overboard with it, so recommending a blanket amount probably isn’t the greatest idea (and as with most things, the bell shaped curve applies)

In my own case, despite being basically nocturnal (over winter I hardly saw the sun) the last test I had still had very high vitamin D. I guess I am unusual in this respect as most folks seem to struggle to get their D optimal.

Before taking massive D supplements, its worth getting this tested. The test is cheap (my GP (NHS) was happy to do it for me).


I agree. Rob lives in sunny California, some of us not so much.


Good point, although I don’t know if I can get it through ‘emergency’ GP services, as i’m not near the surgery im registered to.


For those interested in the supplement side of things; I’ve been taking Vitamin D supplements for probably going on a year now, and found 5k IU to be especially effective for cognition and energy, doubly so during the winter (6’1, male, ~150lbs). I take them just before going to sleep because I usually don’t have an issue passing out anyways, but for others it could end up making them too wired to sleep. A friend dealing with depression and anxiety jumped on board and found the same to be effective in helping him deal with the anxiety as a second degree through improving his cognition.

I was on 10k IU a day about 5 times a week for what I think was two months, but at that level after a blood test I was bordering on toxicity. It actually takes a lot of effort to reach toxicity levels for Vitamin D (and I believe toxicity can only be achieved through supplements, as opposed to just spending time outside).

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Hope it helps!


Your body has a defence mechanism called “my skin hurts”.


Actually prolonged sun exposure degrades the vitamin d precursor in the skin, even lifeguards in arizona are rotected from toxicity from the sun. For most people exposing hands , face and arms on a clear summer day for 5-10 minutes two or three times a week should be sufficient. Differences in latitude, smog, time of day and skin pigmentation augment this however. Vitamin d stores from the summer wouldn’t make up for a deficiency in the winter in say minnesota for instance.

This can get tricky if you have low calcium levels but I won’t digress because we’re not trying to make medicine just food.

I however live in tucson and my granparents on my mothers side emigrated from ireland in the 50’s, no sun for me thanks, I’ll supplement a little d3 every now and again.

It is one of the more likely fat soluble vitamins to get to toxic levels with, but, iven the fact that your body is going to produce enough if you’re getting sun exposure, maybe a real modest amount might be called for (a third of the daily requirement?) , none of us are going to get ricketts.


Yes, most people should get more than what you get from a multivitamin(400-600 UI). It is outdated and has been proven to be an ineffective amount of raising vitamin d to healthy levels if you are low in that regard. And maybe some will get adequate amounts of vitamin d from sun exposure, but that’s rare for people living in higher latitudes. Though deficiencies is actually also quite often seen in people from warmer places, depending on lifestyle. But given that vitamin d, these later years, has been associated with so many health benefits(many have been proven), I would not be satisfied with only getting vitamin d from the sun.

Many world leading vitamin d scientists recommend that supplementing with vitamin d should be much higher than the RDA(400-600UI). Depending on your history of vitamin d levels, they recommend it should be anywhere between 1000-3000UI for adults. Overweight, dark skinned people and people above 70+ years, should maybe get more, they say.

It doesn’t hurt to supplement 1000-3000UI daily. Vitamin d toxicity is very very hard to achieve in those doses, if not impossible. And if you think about, vitamin d is actually a hormone not a vitamin. It works with almost every organ system and cell in the body. If it was called a hormone instead of a vitamin, people would give much more attention to their vitamin d levels, than they are now. Its so vital for your overall health. The most known benefits of good vitamin d levels is prevention of osteoporosis. But there are many more benefits to have. It even improves your immune system and may even help you prevent several autoimmune diseases and cancers.