How Common Is Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is actually quite common. In fact, itâs estimated that one billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D.
So why are so many people deficient in vitamin D?
There are a few reasons. For one, weâre spending less time outdoors, which means weâre not getting as much sunlight exposure.
Another reason is that our diets are often lacking in vitamin D-rich foods.
People Who Should Not Opt In
You should not opt in to receive the vitamin D supplement if:
- you are already taking, or are prescribed, a vitamin D supplement by your GP or healthcare professional
- you are already taking, or are prescribed, a medication that contains vitamin D by your GP or healthcare professional
- you are under the age of 18
- you have a medical condition or treatment that means you may not be able to safely take as much vitamin D as the general population
If you are one of the following groups or have any of the following medical conditions, you should not opt in through this process and you should speak to your GP or healthcare professional at your next appointment. There are some groups who need to be particularly careful including those under the care of a renal, endocrinology or cancer specialist. This could include people with high vitamin D levels, kidney stones, too much parathyroid hormone, cancer , severe kidney disease and a rare illness calledsarcoidosis.
Are Vitamin D Supplements Safe
Taking vitamin D supplements is safe so long as you stick to the recommended adult dose of 400 IU per day.
This dose is likely to achieve a blood level of vitamin D, in the region of 30 ng/ml.
There is generally no need to have blood tests if you want to take a vitamin D supplement. However, it is possible if you have specific health concerns, to see your GP and request a vitamin D blood test.
This can be done before you start, as a baseline, and then be repeated 3-6 months after starting treatment.
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Vitamin D Supplementation On The Rise
Between 2006 and 2014, the number of people taking over 4,000 IUs daily rose from less than 0.5% to over 3%. That was according to a 2017 study in the Journal of American Medicine, which pulled data from 39,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study also found that over the same period, those taking more than 1,000 IUs per day jumped from less than 1% to over 18%. This amount is not known to cause immediate health problems, but the findings indicate that more people than ever are seeking out extra vitamin D and may be at risk of overdoing it.
This doesn’t mean that no one should take a vitamin D supplement. Other than infants and those over 70 who likely require supplements, people should get their blood levels checked routinely to determine if supplements are advised.
Advice For Infants And Young Children
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that babies from birth to 1 year of age should have a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they are:
- formula-fed and are having less than 500ml of infant formula a day, as infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D
Children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D at most pharmacies and supermarkets.
Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing vitamin D.
See the Healthy Start website for more information.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Who Is At Risk
Vitamin D deficiency affects a staggering 50% of the population. This means more than one billion people are affected around the world. Most of us are unaware of the hypovitaminosis D pandemic.
But why should this be? There are a number of reasons.
Firstly, this may be due to lifestyle factors. For example, more people now work indoors for longer hours, meaning there is less exposure to sunlight. In addition, our eating habits have changed, and people now have different dietary preferences.
Vitamin D deficiency is more common in the winter when the days are shorter and darker.
Vitamin D deficiency affects all age groups, races and different ethnic backgrounds.
- People with darker skin have increased amounts of melanin in their skin. This absorbs more UVB. This then means they need longer hours of sun exposure than people with pale skin, to produce adequate vitamin D levels.
- The elderly may not go outside for long periods and have less exposure to UVB. They may also have small appetites and eat less healthily. Older people also tend to cover their skin more with clothing. Ageing reduces your natural ability to produce vitamin D in sunlight.
- Medication such as anticonvulsants, and anti-HIV drugs, also lower levels of vitamin D, as they accelerate vitamin D breakdown.
- Vegans- as they avoid eggs, meat and fish.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need
From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.
Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram . The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol followed by the letter g .
Sometimes the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units . 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.
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What Is The Calcium Status Of Canadians
Information on calcium intakes is available from dietary intake data, collected in the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey . At a national level, the prevalence of inadequate calcium intake varies widely, but tends to increase with age and is higher in women than men.
Based on food intakes only:
- Only about 3% of children aged 1-3 had inadequate intakes of calcium.
- Almost one-quarter of children aged 4-8 had inadequate intakes of calcium.
- More than one third of boys aged 9-18 and more than two-thirds of girls aged 9-18 had inadequate intakes of calcium.
- Adult men had a prevalence of inadequate intakes ranging from 27-80%, depending on the age group.
- Adult women had a prevalence of inadequate intakes ranging from 48-87%, depending on the age group
Data on calcium intakes from food and supplement sources combined show that supplement use did not greatly affect the prevalence of inadequate calcium intakes in most age and gender groups, with the exception of women over the age of 50.
Can Vitamin D Prevent Or Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Cardiovascular Disease Taking vitamin D supplements does not reduce the risk ofheart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease, according to the findings of a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving more than 25,000 participants that was published in the aforementioned January 2019 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Cancer In the same study, researchers found that vitamin D supplementation was not found to reduce the risk of cancer in participants overall. However, those who had developed cancer and were taking vitamin D were less likely to die early than those who took a placebo. Researchers also found a possible reduction in cancer risk for African Americans, and they called for further study to confirm those results.
Rheumatoid arthritis A small observational study of 44 people with RA and 25 controls found that vitamin D deficiency appeared to be more prevalent among people with RA, suggesting these people may benefit from taking a supplement. But a separate small randomized, controlled trial found that while a vitamin D supplement helped people with RA build stronger bones than the control group, the supplements didnt result in other expected health improvements.
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Your Value Is Between 50
Congratulations, your values are in the optimum range to take advantage of the numerous health benefits of vitamin D. There is currently no sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that values above 60 ng/ml offer increased health benefits. Consequently, there is no need to attempt to reach higher levels.
Take the recommended dose of vitamin D daily to maintain your vitamin D levels, as described in point 1 above. Or continue to spend the same amount of time in the sun to maintain your value.
What Other Drugs Interact With Vitamin D
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first.
- Vitamin D has known moderate interactions with at least 25 different drugs.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
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What Are Dosages Of Vitamin D
Dosages of Vitamin D Should Be Given As Follows:
Adult and Pediatric Dosage Forms & Strengths
1 mcg = 40 international units
- Vitamin D toxicity may last 2 months or more after therapy is discontinued.
- Adequate clinical response to vitamin D therapy is dependent on adequate dietary calcium.
- In patients with rickets, the range between therapeutic and toxic doses is narrow in vitamin Dresistant patients adjust dose based on clinical response to avoid toxicity.
Vitamin D as Nutritional Supplementation
- 19-70 years: 600 IU /day
- Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU /day
Vitamin D as Nutritional Supplementation
- Recommended daily allowance
- 19-70 years: 600 IU /day
- Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU /day
Vitamin D to Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis
- > 50 years: 800-1000 IU PO once daily with calcium supplements
Vitamin D to Prevent and Treat Hypoparathyroidism
- 50,000-200,000 IU PO once daily with calcium supplements
Vitamin D to Prevent and Treat Vitamin D-Resistant Rickets
- 12,000-500,000 IU PO once daily
Vitamin D to Prevent and Treat Familial Hypophosphatemia
- 10,000-60,000 IU PO once daily with phosphate supplements
Linus Pauling Institute Recommendation
The Linus Pauling Institute recommends that generally healthy adults take 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily. Most multivitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D, and single-ingredient vitamin D supplements are available for additional supplementation. Sun exposure, diet, skin color, and body mass index have variable, substantial impact on body vitamin D levels. To adjust for individual differences and ensure adequate body vitamin D status, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends aiming for a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of at least 30 ng/mL . Observational studies suggest that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations between 30 ng/mL and 60 ng/mL are associated with lower risks of adverse health outcomes, including cancers and autoimmune diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics currently suggests that all infants, children, and adolescents receive 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily . Consistent with the recommendations of the Endocrine Society , the Linus Pauling Institute recommends daily intakes of 400 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D in infants and 600 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D in children and adolescents. Given the average vitamin D content of breast milk, infant formula, and the diets of children and adolescents, supplementation may be necessary to meet these recommendations.
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Your Value Is Between 80
These values are only slightly above those that can be achieved naturally by exposing the skin to the sunlight. It is assumed that these values cannot be achieved without taking vitamin D in dietary supplement form. To date, no risks are known which would result from consistently high values in the range of 80-100 ng/ml.
But How Much Vitamin D Do You Need To Take To Achieve These Levels
There is no simple answer, as it depends on many factors, including those we discussed earlier on in this article:
Â· Your age
Â· How much sun exposure you get
Â· Whether you have any health conditions that affect vitamin D absorption
If you’re not sure how much vitamin D you need, it’s best to speak to a doctor or nutritionist. They can help you determine the right dose for you based on your individual needs.
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Your Value Is Between 40
In the view of vitamin D experts this level means you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D. Most people would produce this amount of vitamin D in their body if they were exposed to the sun completely naked all year at the equator. These levels are also achieved by hunter-gatherers in the bush in Africa who live a traditional way of life.
At this vitamin D level, the body can perfectly regulate calcium absorption via the adequate formation of parathyroid hormone. Breastfeeding mothers can sufficiently pass on vitamin D to their baby through breast milk.
Some studies suggest that these amounts of vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers and with better heart and circulation health. Research results also indicate that vitamin D levels in this range strengthen the immune system and support the body in fighting infection.
If your vitamin D blood level is e.g. 25 ng/ml or higher and you want to increase them, you can take the following amount of vitamin D :
To reach the mentioned value.. take this vitamin D Dose per day:
50 ng/ml ..900 IU 70 ng/ml ..5700 IU
Strengthens The Immune System
Vitamin D has a variety of important functions, including promoting the immune system’s strength and performance. It promotes T-cell growth and aids in the immunological response to viral illnesses such as the common cold, influenza, and other community-wide diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
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Q: Do Some People Naturally Have Lower Vitamin D Levels Than Others
A: People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have lower levels, as do people who use sunscreen, dont spend much time outdoors, or are overweight or obese. This is because vitamin D is fat soluble, so it gets trapped in fatty tissue and cant be used by the body as it should be. Gastrointestinal surgery, like gastric bypass, makes it difficult to absorb vitamin D. And as we age, we dont absorb vitamin D well, and we produce less.
You Value Is Higher Than 150 Ng/ml
These values could harm your health. You should therefore take steps to reduce your 25D value to below 100 ng/ml. To achieve this, simply stop taking vitamin D dietary supplements and avoid sunbathing. After roughly 3 months, have your 25D levels retested. After your Vitamin D value is back in the normal range, adjust your vitamin D intake accordingly.
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Adults And Children Over 4 Years Old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
It’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone. So you can take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter.
Between late March to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
You do not have to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
You can get Vitamin D supplements from pharmacies. They are available as a tablet, including a chewable tablet and a tablet that dissolves in your mouth.
You should take vitamin D supplements with a large meal to help your body absorb the vitamin D.
Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
If you have a history of diabetes in your family or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, increase your Vitamin D intake. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes have been linked to insufficient vitamin D in recent studies. You may be able to avoid the development of type 2 diabetes by resolving insulin resistance.
Alpha-hydroxylase enzymes and VDRs, both of which contribute to glucose tolerance and resistance, are present in the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to reduce the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas, which can lead to insulin resistance and altered glucose responses in people. Given these findings, it’s worth discussing with your doctor whether taking more Vitamin D would improve your general health.
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How Much Vitamin D Is Too Much
Because vitamin D is fat soluble, there have been repeated warnings against overdosing. In 2002, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission released its position the safety of vitamin D.
The report stated that a daily intake of 2,000 IU for adolescents, adults, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and 1,000 IU for children may be taken for extended periods during the first 10 years of life with no risk of side effects and without medical supervision.
Most experts consider a daily intake of up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D to be safe for adults.
Since direct sunlight produces 10,000 IU of vitamin D in the human body, this may be the physiological upper limit.
Since vitamin D is potentially toxic, the state-approved limit is 50 mcg . However, this is a conservative limit and is likely 5 times too low.
Known cases of vitamin D toxicity with hypercalcemia in which the 25D concentration and vitamin D dose are known all point to an intake of 40,000 IU a day or more.
Excessive intake of vitamin D can only occur by taking dietary supplements. But one would have to take some 40,000 IU per day for several months to cause vitamin D overdose.
One-time massive-dose therapy involving high doses do not result in an overdose of vitamin D, even at doses in excess of 100,000 IU.
The symptoms of vitamin D intoxication include nausea, high calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, irregular heartbeat and kidney stones.