Discover the Ultimate Vitamin D Protocol for Maximum Results!

Updated: August 28, 2023

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has found its place in the spotlight with medical experts in all fields agreeing on one thing; we could all benefit from getting more of this crucial nutrient. And yet many questions remain; how much should we take? Can we store vitamin D in our tissues? What’s the best protocol?

There’s so much information out there that it can be dizzying to even try to sift through it. 

But don’t worry, you’re in the right place. In this article we’re going to answer all of your questions so you can feel confident that you’re not only getting sufficient vitamin D, but you’re maximizing your body’s ability to process and utilize it.

best ways to get vitamin d

Can Your Body Store Vitamin D?

Before we dive into the best way to take vitamin D, we need to explore a very important question; can your body store vitamin D?

Put simply, yes – your body can store vitamin D, but the answer as to how helpful that is for your vitamin D status is a bit more complex. 

Unlike vitamin C, which is water-soluble and readily excreted from your body, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it has an affinity for your fat tissue. As such, getting high doses of vitamin D increases the storage of this vitamin within your fat cells, sequestering away any excess vitamin D not needed for physiological processes.

This is one reason some people believe they can get enough vitamin D in the summer to carry them through the winter. 

However, the research on this is mixed. Even though it’s clear that vitamin D is stored in fat, it’s unclear how much gets released into the blood when you need it. In other words, you could have plenty of vitamin D sitting in your fat cells and also experience a vitamin D deficiency because your body’s physiological needs aren’t being met. There’s not much that vitamin D can do for you until it’s released into your circulation.

With this in mind, there’s some debate as to how usable this stored vitamin D actually is.

For example, a five-year study found that large weekly doses (20,000 IU) of vitamin D3 raised levels of vitamin D stored in fat – no surprise there. The researchers concluded that this storage could significantly affect blood levels of vitamin D up to 12 months after stopping supplementation. 

However, they also noted that the release of vitamin D from adipose and other tissues in their study was limited even after the long-term high-dose vitamin D supplementation.

Furthermore, even though the vitamin D group had higher levels of circulating vitamin D in the blood than the placebo group, these levels declined fairly rapidly.

The graph below depicts the blood levels of vitamin D in the control group versus the vitamin D group over 12 months post-supplementation. The line with the green dots represents the vitamin D group that had previously received high doses of vitamin D for 3-5 years. The line below, shown by the white dots, indicates the placebo group. Notice how at the beginning of the data collection, the vitamin D group has a high level of vitamin D in their blood, but this level rapidly drops off. This indicates that after years of high-dose vitamin D, our ability to release vitamin D from our stores rapidly declines.

Due to the inability of high-dose vitamin D to sustain circulation levels, the researchers calculated that it would take a daily intake of 2000 IU of vitamin D3 to maintain a healthy amount of circulating vitamin D [1].

Vitamin D study

Modified from Figure 1 in “Vitamin D Stored in Fat Tissue During a 5-Year Intervention Affects Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels the Following Year

Can You Store Enough Vitamin D In The Summer To Carry You Through Winter?

So, is it possible to store enough vitamin D over the summer to carry you through the winter? Likely not. Even if you’re out in the sun all day absorbing that vitamin D, any excess that ends up in storage isn’t guaranteed to be released when you need it. Instead, it’s a much better bet to take a vitamin D supplement to ensure that your circulating vitamin D levels stay replete.

What’s The Best Way To Take Vitamin D?

Now that we’ve cleared up some confusion around vitamin D storage, let’s talk about the best way to take vitamin D.

Taking Vitamin D Daily Vs. Less Frequent Large Doses

There are many different types of vitamin D supplements out there, and subsequently, a variety of delivery methods. For example, there’s some thought that taking a large dose of vitamin D may support long-term vitamin D status and help to carry people through the winter. 

However, as you just learned, our bodies aren’t that great at storing and then doling out vitamin D as we need it. 

In fact, studies show that taking high doses of vitamin D results in a peak of vitamin D in the blood about 7 to 30 days after administration, with a subsequent rapid loss over the next couple of months [2]. 

Furthermore, there’s some concern about what can happen physiologically when we introduce high levels of vitamin D into our bodies at one time. Your body has a tightly regulated system that controls your vitamin D levels, with a feedback loop involving several other hormonal systems. When we flood the body with vitamin D, it’s possible that we could throw off this delicate balance with some unwanted downstream effects [3]. 

Even with a bolus dose given once a week, there are some concerns around the potential detrimental impacts [4].

Therefore, once again, it seems that daily supplementation of vitamin D is a safer option than less frequent large doses.

vitamin d foods

Taking Vitamin D With or Without Food

As mentioned, vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means that it has an affinity for fat and is best absorbed when there are fat molecules present. So taking your vitamin D supplement with a meal will help with overall absorption, especially if you’re consuming fat with your meal. 

In one study, researchers found that when participants took their vitamin D supplements with their largest meal of the day, it resulted in a 50% increase in serum levels of vitamin D, compared to taking vitamin D on an empty stomach or with a small meal. They also noted that similar increases were observed in a wide range of vitamin D doses taken for a variety of medical conditions [5].

In short, if you want to get the most out of your vitamin D supplement, take it with food. A meal with a healthy fat source works well, such as these scrumptious salmon-stuffed avocados

The Best Time Of Day To Take Vitamin D

While vitamin D may help with overall energy levels and sleep quality, its actions are more supportive than stimulating or sedating [6][7]. Therefore, it’s safe to take vitamin D at any time of day. The best time of day to take vitamin D is the time you’re most likely to remember taking it consistently. 

The Importance of Vitamin D Testing

All in all, it appears that the best way to take vitamin D is in moderate daily doses, with a meal. But how do you know whether you actually need to supplement with vitamin D? This is where vitamin D testing comes in.

Many people either assume they’re getting enough vitamin D from sunlight, so they dismiss the need for supplementation, or they take a vitamin D supplement simply because they hear it’s good for them. Ideally, you should know your current vitamin D status before deciding whether or not to start supplementing. 

Everyone’s body is different, so even if you live in a particularly sunny climate and those around you have sufficient vitamin D, your body may need more. This is why testing for vitamin D levels is so crucial. 

The best protocol for vitamin D testing is twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer. During the summer months, your vitamin D levels will likely improve naturally, so you may need a smaller dose. Similarly, you’ll probably need to beef up your supplementation in the winter when the clouds roll in and you spend less time outside. 

Luckily, vitamin D testing is getting easier and more accessible, and you no longer have to make a lab appointment to check your levels – you can do it right from home.


Your body is great at absorbing and storing vitamin D, but as we’ve covered, it may not be the best at releasing it from your fat cells when you need it. Therefore, your safest bet is to find a high-quality vitamin D supplement that you can take daily to ensure that your circulating vitamin D levels remain stable. 

While large doses of vitamin D may carry you for a little while, there is some concern regarding the safety of high-dose vitamin D. And ultimately, it doesn’t seem to provide the stability that daily supplementation can. 

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Is it OK to take vitamin D every day?

Yes, in fact, daily supplementation with vitamin D is ideal as this will ensure that the level of vitamin D in circulation remains stable, as opposed to excess being stored in your fat tissue where you can’t guarantee it will be released when you need it.

What is a vitamin D bolus?

A vitamin D bolus is a large single-dose administration of vitamin D. While large doses of vitamin D may carry you for a little while, there is some concern regarding the safety of high-dose vitamin D. And ultimately, it doesn’t seem to provide the stability that daily supplementation can.

Does your body store vitamin D for the winter?

It’s unlikely that getting plenty of vitamin D in the summer can carry you through the winter because your fat tissue may not release stored vitamin D at the amounts you need to sustain optimal blood levels.

Is it better to take vitamin D every day or once a week?

The best way to take vitamin D is in a daily supplement. This way, your body gets a fresh dose of vitamin D directly into circulation instead of relying on vitamin D in storage.

Is vitamin D3 the same as vitamin D?

Vitamin D3 is a form of vitamin D, along with vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is thought to be superior for supplementation because this is the form that humans naturally make. Studies show D3 to be better absorbed and more effective than D2. 

Article Sources

  1. Martinaityte, I., Kamycheva, E., Didriksen, A., Jakobsen, J., & Jorde, R. (2017). Vitamin D stored in fat tissue during a 5-year intervention affects serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels the following year. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 102(10), 3731-3738.
  2. Kearns, M. D., Binongo, J. N. G., Watson, D., Alvarez, J. A., Lodin, D., Ziegler, T. R., & Tangpricha, V. (2015). The effect of a single, large bolus of vitamin D in healthy adults over the winter and following year: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. European journal of clinical nutrition, 69(2), 193-197.
  3. Mazess, R. B., Bischoff‐Ferrari, H. A., & Dawson‐Hughes, B. (2021). Vitamin D: bolus is bogus—a narrative review. JBMR plus, 5(12), e10567.
  4. Owens, D. J., Tang, J. C., Bradley, W. J., Sparks, S. A., Fraser, W. D., Morton, J. P., & Close, G. L. (2016). Efficacy of High Dose Vitamin D Supplements for Elite Athletes. Medicine and science in sports and exercise.
  5. Mulligan, G. B., & Licata, A. (2010). Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25‐hydroxyvitamin D. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 25(4), 928-930.
  6. Nowak, A., Boesch, L., Andres, E., Battegay, E., Hornemann, T., Schmid, C., ... & Krayenbuehl, P. A. (2016). Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Medicine, 95(52).
  7. Abboud, M. (2022). Vitamin D supplementation and sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies. Nutrients, 14(5), 1076.

Article Comments

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  1. Priscilla Arbuckle

    September 18, 2023 , 12:16 pm

    How do you test for Vitamin D at home?

  2. Shelby AlgaeCal

    September 18, 2023 , 1:25 pm

    This is a great question, Priscilla! Vitamin D blood tests are often requisitioned by your doctor, however, there are options for at-home blood test kits! THIS page should be helpful if you’d like to explore this further, and do let us know if you have any questions. 🙂
    – Shelby

  3. Linda Weydeveld

    September 28, 2023 , 10:19 am

    How do I check for VitaminD3 levels at home?

  4. Samantha AlgaeCal

    September 29, 2023 , 8:43 am

    Great question, Linda! While at-home test kits are available, the most accurate way to test your vitamin D levels is through a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test that can be ordered by your doctor.
    – Sam

  5. Ingrid Ada

    September 25, 2023 , 6:47 am

    should vit d3 be used with k

  6. Shelby AlgaeCal

    September 25, 2023 , 12:42 pm

    This is an excellent question, Ingrid! These two vitamins work hand in hand to deliver calcium directly to your bone. Vitamin D3 helps absorb calcium into your bloodstream, then vitamin K2 directs the calcium from your blood into your bones! The good news is, our AlgaeCal Plus provides both vitamins – in the correct proportion, to support your bone health! In a full daily serving of 4 capsules per day, AlgaeCal Plus contains 1600 IU of Vitamin D3, and 100 mcg of Vitamin K2. If you have any additional questions about this, please do let us know – we’re always here to help!
    – Shelby

  7. Kim Paige

    December 31, 2023 , 5:58 pm

    If your overall diet is good, do you still need 4 vitamins? With a healthy diet would 2 be enough?

  8. Yoori AlgaeCal

    January 1, 2024 , 5:00 pm

    Great question, Kim! The requirement for specific vitamin supplements depends on various factors, including individual health status, dietary habits, lifestyle, any potential deficiencies, etc. There are instances where supplementation might be recommended, even with an overall healthy diet. We suggest consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can assess your specific health needs and provide personalized recommendations optimal for your own needs! 🙂

    – Yoori

  9. Carole Lois Kayser

    January 2, 2024 , 5:58 pm

    Since Algacal has D3 and K2 dose on need to take D3 at all?

  10. Manja AlgaeCal

    January 3, 2024 , 9:54 am

    Great question, Carole! AlgaeCal Plus is rich in all the essential nutrients that are required to promote healthy bone growth, including D3 and K2. The effectiveness of AlgaeCal in this regard has been demonstrated in multiple clinical studies and of course, in the thousands of DEXA scans from our customers.

    However, it’s worth noting that the 1600 IU of vitamin D present in AlgaeCal Plus may not be sufficient to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D. As such, some individuals may benefit from additional supplementation of the vitamins such as those found in D3 Complete, particularly if their diet is lacking in these nutrients. We understand that this is an individualized need, which is why we have made these vitamins available as a separate supplement from AlgaeCal. This way, you can customize your supplementation regimen to meet your unique needs and achieve the best possible results.

    We highly suggest testing your current Vitamin D levels to assess your Vitamin D3 needs and confirming the optimal dose of vitamin D with your healthcare provider.
    – Manja

  11. Janna Pijoan

    September 25, 2023 , 8:16 am

    Thank you for this Vitamin D information. You said that testing for Vitamin D can be done from home, but didn’t say how. Could someone elaborate?

  12. Shelby AlgaeCal

    September 25, 2023 , 12:47 pm

    It was our pleasure, Janna, and this is a great question! While most Vitamin D blood testing is typically done through your doctor/through a lab, there are at-home blood test kits on the market available for purchase! You can learn more about this HERE, and do let us know if you have any other questions!
    – Shelby

  13. Linda Zink

    September 25, 2023 , 1:01 pm

    How can you check vitamin D levels at home

  14. Maria teresa Toto

    September 26, 2023 , 12:04 am

    But as I understand, since I take Algae Cal Plus it already contains Vit. D. But I do take a supplement of D3 nearly daily. i wonder if this is too much.

  15. Yoori AlgaeCal

    September 26, 2023 , 3:00 pm

    Great question, Maria! Vitamin D3 requirements vary greatly from person to person. AlgaeCal Plus provides 1600 IU and the best way to determine if you need additional D3 to have a blood test done. For more information on this, visit our website HERE. Please don’t hesitate to give our Bone Health Consultants a call at 1-800-820-0184 (US & Canada Toll-free) or email [email protected] for personalized support with this! 🙂

    – Yoori

  16. Kat

    September 26, 2023 , 2:22 pm

    What daily dosage best for summer
    Then for winter?

  17. Yoori AlgaeCal

    September 26, 2023 , 3:10 pm

    Great question, Kat! The recommended dosage of vitamin D throughout the season will depend on your individual vitamin D blood level, so it’s best to get your vitamin D level tested to determine the amount that would be the best fit for you! 🙂 Please visit HERE for more detail on this topic, and let us know if you have any further questions!

    – Yoori

  18. Carol Minnick

    September 28, 2023 , 12:08 pm

    Is it best to take a Vitamin D supplement along with AlgaeCal at the same meal, or at some other time?

  19. Samantha AlgaeCal

    September 29, 2023 , 8:45 am

    Carol, you’re more than welcome to take your vitamin D supplement alongside your AlgaeCal. However, for optimal absorption, take it with a meal that contains healthy fat. I hope this helps!
    – Sam

  20. Marci

    December 30, 2023 , 6:08 am

    how can one test for bit D levels at home (noted in the above article

  21. Yoori AlgaeCal

    January 1, 2024 , 3:29 pm

    Great question, Marci! We have a simple at-home vitamin D test kit available on our website here: I hope this helps! 🙂

    – Yoori

  22. Donna A Pollock

    December 30, 2023 , 11:01 am

    I Love Vitamin D3 I have taken this for 8 years everyday and feel great. I’m on the watch out for my Bones. I would hate to fall and really hurt myself.

  23. Yoori AlgaeCal

    January 1, 2024 , 3:41 pm

    We are glad to hear that you are staying on top of your health, Donna! Have you had a Vitamin D 25(OH)D blood test done recently? If not, we strongly recommend that you do so to determine what your levels are, and adjust your vitamin D intake accordingly :). The amount a person needs depends on their vitamin D blood level and health status / goals!

    – Yoori

  24. Christine Klay

    December 30, 2023 , 11:24 am

    I am taking Algae Calcium with Meals in the morning and evening. Also take 1 Vitamin D3 in the morning.
    That should be plenty, correct?

    Have to stop taking it for 2 Weeks, since I am scheduled for a total new Hip, Surgery January 9th.
    That should not matter much?

  25. Yoori AlgaeCal

    January 1, 2024 , 4:41 pm

    Thank you for reaching out, Christine! The amount of vitamin D a person needs depends on their vitamin D blood level and health status. Have you had a Vitamin D 25(OH)D blood test done recently? If not, we strongly recommend that you do so to determine what your levels are. It’s important to discuss the results with your doctor to determine the optimal amount of vitamin D that would be most beneficial for your health :).

    We would not expect a week or two without AlgaeCal to have a negative impact, but we do recommend restarting on AlgaeCal as soon as you can. We hope all goes well with your upcoming surgery, Christine!

    – Yoori

  26. Janet Williams-Reyes

    January 2, 2024 , 1:10 pm

    I enjoyed the article. I have always asked for a lab test to find out my D levels. How can I test my D levels in my home without a lab test?

  27. Manja AlgaeCal

    January 3, 2024 , 9:44 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Janet! Testing your vitamin D levels at home has become more accessible. There are home vitamin D testing kits available that allow you to collect a small blood sample at home and send it to a lab for analysis, and AlgaeCal sells one of them! You can find more information about it here. The kit provides detailed instructions on how to collect the sample and return it for testing.
    Let us know if you have any questions!
    – Manja

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,