Should Vegans Take Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D supplementation is considered pretty safe. Vitamin D toxicity is rather unlikely to happen if you dont exceed the upper safe dose of vitamin D.
On the contrary, sunlight exposure can be dangerous.
In any case, you should consult your physician before taking vitamin D supplements.
You better take vitamin D supplements with food. Especially fat. A 2015 study showed that people who consumed dietary fat with vitamin D supplementation increased its absorption by 32%.
The best dietary sources of fat are seeds and nuts.
Youll find a wide variety of vitamin D supplements on Amazon.
Foods That Are Bad For Your Bones
Ideally, you never want to exceed 4,000 IU per day, Clifford says. Too much vitamin D can lead to anorexia, weight loss, irregular heartbeats, and excessive urination.
It gets more serious when you end up with excess calcium absorption, which puts your heart, kidneys, and blood vessels at risk.
Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include:
- Loss of appetite
Fat And Vitamin D Absorption:
Vitamin D is a bit more complicated, though. Factors that might influence absorption include the form of the vitamin as well as the type of meal and the amount of fat in the meal. A review of the research found, however, that none of these matter very much .
One study that tested the amount of fat in the meal compared vitamin D absorption when it is taken with a high fat meal, a low fat meal or no meal . Absorption was highest when the supplement was taken with a low fat meal.
To learn more about this crucial nutrient, you may wish to read our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. In it, youll learn why vitamin D is so important and which supplements are best.
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When Is The Best Time To Take Prenatal Vitamins
While they are important throughout pregnancy, the best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before youre pregnant when youre planning to conceive, says Dr. Perez-Gallardo.
And while youre at it, also take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily three months before you plan to get pregnant. Folic acid is essential for the development of your babys neural tube. Not having enough can lead to neural tube defects, he says.
Whens the best time to take prenatal vitamins and folic acid?
- Folic acid: Since its a water-soluble vitamin, take it with a glass of water on an empty stomach.
- Prenatal vitamins: Take these with water and a meal for optimal absorption. Its best to take them with breakfast or lunch, which lowers the chance of an upset stomach and acid reflux.
Why We Need Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet and use these minerals to keep your bones, teeth and muscles strong. This helps prevent falls as you get older.
Vitamin D may have other roles in the bodys immune system and heart health too.A lack of vitamin D can cause bone problems such as rickets in children and muscle weakness and painful or tender bones in adults.
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Vegan Foods Rich In Vitamin D
Vitamin D is indeed rare in food. Especially plant-based foods. Theres only a vegan option for vitamin D. Actually, only some mushrooms contain adequate amounts of vitamin D. Maitake, chanterelle, and morel are the only mushroom varieties that are high in vitamin D. Moreover, some producers expose mushrooms to ultraviolet light to produce more vitamin D naturally.
Certainly, the most common dietary vitamin D sources are fortified products. Nowadays, many foods are fortified with vitamin D. For instance, you can find many fortified foods, such as tofu, orange juice, cows milk, or any plant-based milk. Fortified foods can help vegans to meet the daily vitamin D needs.
So When’s The Best Time To Take Vitamin D Then
According to the experts, when you take your vitamin D supplement is really up to you. “It does not have to be taken at a certain time,” says Connie Weaver, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. “The best time is whenever in your schedule you can remember to take it.”
As long as your supplement contains fat, you’ve got plenty of flexibility. To stay consistent, though, Crouch suggests trying tying your vitamin D supplement to some other part of your routine that happens daily, like drinking your morning coffee or brushing your teeth.
If it doesn’t contain fat, try tying it to your breakfast .* If lunch or dinner works better for your D ritual, go for it!
And if you happen to take your vitamin D at different times or even forget to take it here and there, don’t panic. “Vitamin D is very forgiving,” Holick says. “If you forget it one day, you can take double the next day.” No sweat!*
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Do We Need To Worry About Toxicity
Its possible to get toxicity from any vitamin especially fat-soluble ones like Vitamin D . We do see toxicity in Vitamin D, however, its typically in the range of greater than 100 ng/ml. At that level, patients develop hypercalcemia, or calcium levels that are too high. Symptoms of that can include confusion, vomiting, muscle pain and weakness, kidney stones, and even thinning of the bones. (You may have heard of a recent case in the UK, where a man was hospitalized because he was taking 150,000 IU of Vitamin D daily which is 30x higher than what we recommend anyone doing without a physicians guidance.
Thats why we recommend 45-60 ng/ ml it puts you in the optimal range, with a large buffer between that and potentially toxic levels. Its also why we never recommend mega-doses, without the close guidance of your doctor and periodic levels checked.
Achieve Your Daily Dose With Supplements
Supplements can be an essential part of nutrition. They can help you to increase your levels in order to see the benefits of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements taken regularly can also help to boost your immune system, fighting off infection. This is because vitamin D supports the immune system through its interaction with T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells. All of which are key to immune function.
According to the NHS, those aged 1 to adulthood need at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day. Vitamin D supplements can help you to source vitamin D and avoid low levels. Staying below the safe upper limit of each type of vitamin is important to ensure you intake proper amounts. It is also vital to take note of the nutrient reference values for vitamins and minerals to stay on top of your nutrition.
Everyone is advised to take a supplement through the winter months, whilst those at risk of low levels are advised to supplement vitamin D all year round.
BetterYous award-winning range of Vitamin D Supplements are available in a number of dosage strengths for the whole family, from childrens vitamins to toddler vitamins. With natural flavours, your little ones will love getting their source of vitamin D without interrupting playtime.
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The Vitamin D Deficiency Crisis
Vitamin D deficiency is rife across the globe, particularly in the United States.
When we consider vitamin D s vast array of health benefits, and its ability to ward off nasty diseases, it’s shocking to learn that approximately 40% of the American population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency.
This staggeringly high statistic largely comes down to a lack of sun exposure and ow consumption of vitamin D-rich foods.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise then that dietitians often recommend vitamin D supplementation.
However, there is a such a thing as too much vitamin D – known as Vitamin D Toxicity.
If you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or too little vitamin D, it’s worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
Toxicity is caused by having too much vitamin D in the system, which can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia .
Regardless, if you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or too little vitamin D, it’s worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
To learn more about the telltale signs of a vitamin D deficiency, and testing vitamin D levels, read our blog post on how to know if you’re deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D toxicity is a much rarer case than being vitamin d deficient though, so have no fear.
How Much Vitamin D Does My Child Need
Vitamin D is measured in international units .
- Babies younger than 1 year old need 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Baby formula has 400 IU per liter, so babies who drink at least 32 ounces of formula each day get enough. If your baby drinks only breast milk or gets less than 32 ounces of formula each day, ask your health care provider about giving your baby a vitamin D supplement.
- Kids older than 1 year need 600 IU or more of vitamin D a day. Health care providers often want healthy kids to take 600 to 1,000 IU daily.
Some kids might need more vitamin D, such as those who:
- have certain medical problems
Vitamin D Is Associated With Levels Of Both Serotonin Important For Mood Regulation And Melatonin Which Regulates Our Sleep
Evidence suggests there may be a relationship since vitamin D is associated with levels of both serotonin, important for mood regulation, and melatonin, which regulates our sleep. Low levels of either hormone could contribute to SAD symptoms. Researchers have yet to carry out a definitive randomised control trial, however, and the exact mechanism by which vitamin D bolsters the hormones is unknown. One theory is that vitamin D receptors which are found in many parts of the brain and concentrated in the hypothalamus, a region involved in our circadian timing play a part in controlling the bodys hormone levels.
Research has found that vitamin D plays a wider role in our mental health, from depression to schizophrenia, as well as in brain development, but how it plays a role also remains unclear. A meta-analysis published earlier this year found that while there is a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and depression, that didnt necessarily mean D caused depression.
Again, perhaps depressed people just went out less and got less sunlight.
If studies are inconclusive, though, perhaps that doesnt reflect on the importance of vitamin D. Perhaps its the fact that most of them are based on supplements, not sunshine.
Some experts believe that vitamin D is most effective when its from the sun, not supplements
Are Animal Sources Rich In Vitamin D
Even meat-eaters and vegetarians cant get adequate amounts of vitamin D from food. Only a few foods contain vitamin D.
Only fortified foods could daily provide high doses of vitamin D.
Fatty fish are the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide only small amounts:
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Why Children And Adults Need Vitamin D
Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. So do babies developing in the womb. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium.
Serious vitamin D deficiency in children can cause rickets, delayed motor development, muscle weakness, aches and pains, and fractures.
If women dont get enough vitamin D during pregnancy, their children are at greater risk of developing rickets later in childhood. This risk is reduced if children get enough vitamin D after birth.
What To Consider With Timing Your Vitamin D Supplement
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it strongly prefers a source of fat in order to be properly absorbed in the body. According to integrative dietitian Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT, vitamin D supplements are “best absorbed when taken with food containing avocado, olive oil, flax, or other sources of beneficial fats.”* So, popping your standard D supplement on an empty stomach probably isn’t the best idea.
There’s one important exception here, though. “If your supplement is already packaged with adequate fats included, there’s no need to take it with food,” Crouch adds. This is a rare feature among vitamin D supplements offered today, so it’s important to check product labels to make sure yours contains some kind of fat or oil to foster absorption, Holick says.
If that is the case, though, you can feel free to take your vitamin D sans food. And if not, you’ll still absorb some vitamin D. “We’ve done studies and shown that vitamin D with oil can be taken with a full meal, on an empty stomach, with additional fat or without it,” says Holick.
That’s why mbg uniquely and expertly formulated our vitamin D3 potency+ with three built-in, high-quality organic oils to be sure you’re maximizing the fat-soluble bioavailability of this critical nutrient.* With this absorption support, you can get the most out of your vitamin D, regardless of when you take it .*
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Egg Sandwich With Pastrami And Swiss
An egg sandwich for the win! Especially when you consider that two eggs can provide you with 74 IU of vitamin D, which is around 10% of your DV.
Get our recipe for an Egg Sandwich with Pastrami and Swiss.
Another vitamin D snack to considerdeviled eggs! They also make for a great appetizer.
Get our recipe for Smoky Deviled Eggs.
What Protects From Fractures
For older patients at risk of vitamin D deficiency, supplements can have a major impact. They can prevent osteomalacia, a softening of the bone that makes fractures more likely.
A University of Auckland meta-study reported that vitamin D supplements had little effect on bone density.
We would not expect vitamin D supplements to have a large impact on bone density unless the deficiency was severe, he says. Then their impact could be significant.
Improving bone density is not the only way to prevent fractures especially in older patients. Vitamin D can also have huge benefits for muscle function, cognition and falling.
One study found no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduced mortality, or prevented falls or fractures. A different study found no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduced overall mortality. Drilling down into the type of supplement taken, however, vitamin D3 significantly reduced mortality while vitamin D2 slightly increased mortality.
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How Much Vitamin D Should You Supplement
To figure out how much vitamin D you need from a supplement, subtract the total amount of vitamin D you get each day from the recommended total daily amount for your age. For example, a 55-year-old woman who gets 400 IU of vitamin D from her calcium supplement should take between 400 and 600 additional IU of vitamin D to meet the 800 1,000 IU recommended for her age.
Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant for immune system health. Vitamin B-12 helps maintain your nervous system and form red blood cells. Studies show that taking these two supplements at the same time may reduce the amount of vitamin B-12 that you receive. So, experts recommend taking these supplements at least two hours apart.
Vitamin A supplement with vitamin A-rich foods
Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, any excess is stored in the body. So, you dont need to take vitamin A every single day. Too much vitamin A can lead to weaker bones and more bone fractures as you age. It can also be harmful to unborn babies.
If you are pregnant or take a vitamin A supplement, avoid eating liver or liver paté. These foods are so high in vitamin A that even if you do not take a vitamin A supplement, you should only eat them once a week to avoid consuming too much.
Folic acid and vitamin B12
What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin D
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body . This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.
Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.
You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
Page last reviewed: 03 August 2020 Next review due: 03 August 2023
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