- Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that our bodies use to help us absorb calcium.
- As people age, it becomes more difficult for them to use the vitamin D they get from food and sun.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, biohacker Bryan Johnson, and others said they take vitamin D supplements for healthy aging.
There’s no standard protocol for anti-aging, no single treatment that doctors and scientists all agree can turn back our biological clocks – at least not yet.
Some biohackers try pricey young plasma injections that cost thousands of dollars, while other research scientists say the benefits of consistent, regular exercise and a healthy diet are unparalleled.
But if there’s one anti-aging capsule almost everyone who’s investing in, studying, or personally dealing with aging can agree on — then vitamin D might be it.
Immune expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, anti-aging researcher Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, and billionaire longevity investor Christian Angermayer have all told Insider they take vitamin D supplements, in various dosages, and at different times of the year.
Angermayer called it “one of the really proven” things people can do for anti-aging, in part because of the beneficial effects vitamin D can have on the immune system and on cancer risk.
Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption — which reduces inflammation
Vitamin D helps our gut absorb calcium from foods we eat, keeping our bones healthy and strong. When we don’t absorb enough calcium from our diet, our body digs into the calcium stored in our bones to get its needs met.
Studies have consistently shown that older adults who take vitamin D supplements (ranging from 400 to 800 IU — or international units — per day) significantly reduce their risk of broken bones, including many ultimately deadly hip fractures.
Vitamin D also helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms, reduces inflammation, and improves immune function.
How much vitamin D should you take? It depends.
Technically, kids and adults up to age 69 all have the same recommended daily vitamin D allowance in the US (600 IU).
Dr. John Bilezikian, an endocrinologist at Columbia University Medical Center, suggests that for most people, about 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure in the summer months should be enough.
Fatty fish like salmon or tuna, as well as (to a lesser extent) beef, fortified milk, and egg yolks, can also help replenish your vitamin D stores. If you have plenty of that in your diet, you may not need a supplement at all.
But, there are some groups of people who should consider taking year-round vitamin D supplements, including:
Once people hit 70 years old, experts recommend ramping up your vitamin D intake to 800 IU daily. Three ounces of sockeye salmon (570 IU) plus a cup of fortified milk (~100-150 IU) would get you most of the way there.
Do not overdo your vitamin D intake — too much can lead to dangerous calcium buildup in the kidneys, heart, blood, and lungs. The safe upper limit is 4,000 IU per day, according to The National Institutes of Health.
How much vitamin D are the experts taking?
Biohacker Bryan Johnson (the tech entrepreneur who injected his own son’s blood), age 46, takes 2,000 IU of D3 each morning, according to his website. Angermayer, the 45-year-old billionaire investor, takes about 4,000 IU every three days. Dr. Fauci, 82, didn’t specify exactly how much vitamin D he takes for Insider but he said that his levels, which were “low” before he started supplements, are now “normal.”
De Magalhaes doesn’t worry too much about his vitamin D intake in the summer, but during the winter he adds vitamin D supplements to his straightforward “moderately healthy” anti-aging regimen — alongside regular exercise, no smoking, and very little alcohol or junk food.
“I don’t do gene therapies in my garage or anything,” de Magalhaes told Insider. “You have to find that balance between enjoying life, and living healthy that will allow you statistically — in all likelihood — to live longer.”