Quiz: Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Answer these questions to see how your vitamin D status stacks up.
Answer the following questions and tally up your score for a rough estimate of how your vitamin D status stacks up.
1. What is your age?
a. __ Over 50
b. __ Under 50
2. Describe your complexion:
a. __ Dark-skinned
b. __ Medium tone
c. __ Fair-skinned
3. How much milk do you drink each day (including vitamin D-fortified soy "milk")?
a. __ Never drink milk
b. __ 1 (8-ounce) glass
c. __ 2 glasses
d. __ 3+ glasses
4. Do you take a vitamin/mineral supplement that contains vitamin D?
a. __ No
b. __ Yes
5. How often do you eat or drink other vitamin-D fortified foods besides milk (orange juice, cereals, etc.)?
a. __ Never
b. __ 1-2 times/week
c. __ 3-6 times/week
d. __ Daily
6. Imagine that a line runs across the U.S. along 40 degrees latitude north, roughly passing through the cities of Modesto, CA; Reno, NV; Denver, CO; Columbus, OH; and Philadelphia, PA. Where do you live in relation to this line?
a. __ North of the line
b. __ Right on the line
c. __ South of the line
7. How long do you spend outdoors, on average, most days?
a. __ Under 30 min.
b. __ 30 min. to 1 hour
c. __ Over 1 hour
8. Describe your sunscreen habits:
a. __ Always wear sunscreen before going outside
b. __ Always wear sunscreen, but apply it after 5-15 minutes of sun exposure
c. __ Wear sunscreen only in summer months
d. __ Wear sunscreen occasionally or never
How To Tally Your Score
1. a: 1 point b: 2 points
2. a: 1 b: 2 c: 3
3. a: 0 b: 1 c: 2 d: 3
4. a: 0 b: 3
5. a: 0 b: 0 c: 1 d: 2
6. a: 0 b: 1 c: 3
7. a: 0 b: 1 c: 2
8. a: 0 b: 1 c: 2 d: 2
Total score 7 or less: It's likely that you are not getting even the "adequate intake" recommended for vitamin D, an amount many experts consider too low for optimal health. Since it will be hard to close the gap through your diet alone, you probably need a supplement; aim for 800 IU daily, preferably the vitamin D3 form (check the label). If you are over 50, darker skinned or spend a lot of time indoors, 1,000 IU daily may be more appropriate, especially in winter.
8-12: You're probably meeting the DV for vitamin D, but many experts feel that's only enough to prevent rickets or osteomalacia. For overall health, they say, you'll likely need more. Boost your D by eating vitamin D-fortified foods daily, and be sure to take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that includes at least 100 percent of the DV. If you are over 50, darker skinned or spend a lot of time indoors, consider supplementing even more with 500-800 IU vitamin D daily, especially in winter.
13+: Congratulations-chances are you're making a conscientious effort to get adequate vitamin D. You may also want to take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that includes at least 100 percent of the DV for vitamin D as extra insurance-and if you are over 50, darker skinned or spend a lot of time indoors, consider supplementing even more during the winter months with at least 500 IU daily.