Vitamin D is important for optimal health in women. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, the adequate intake level of vitamin D is 200 IU per day for women up to the age of 50, with elderly women needing up to 600 IU per day. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center says that almost half of women in the U.S. are not getting enough of this vitamin. A level up to 1,000 IU day, which is the maximum approved by the National Institutes of Health, is beneficial for several parts of the body.
The principle effect that vitamin D is known for is supporting bone health. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that vitamin D is essential for the body to properly absorb calcium, which is needed for strong bones. Bone strength is mostly formed in a woman's growing years. Bone loss can occur rapidly after a woman passes through menopause, and vitamin D and calcium can slow this rate of loss and help prevent fractures that can affect weak bones.
About 7 of every 10 pregnant women do not get enough vitamin D, even the ones taking prenatal vitamins that contain this vitamin, according to a study by Dr. Adit Ginde of the University of Colorado at Denver. Vitamin D is important for the bone health of both the unborn child and the mother. Additionally, too little vitamin D in mothers has been linked to an increased incidence of wheezing and lung infections in children. Getting 1,000 IU of vitamin D could support the health of the fetus as well as the mother.
Too little vitamin D in the body causes muscle pain and weakness, according to Oregon State University. A study of women with muscle pain with no other known cause showed the vitamin D level in 93 percent of the women was too low. Taking vitamin D supplements also has been shown to help prevent falls, possibly because of better muscle control.
Research has shown that vitamin D may lower a woman's risk of developing some types of cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. These cancers include pancreatic, skin, breast and prostate cancer. However, more studies are needed show the direct link between this vitamin and preventing cancer.