Try Supplements With Your Doctors Supervision
The easiest and most efficient way to increase vitamin D levels may be to take supplements. Considering the skin cancer risks of using sunlight to boost vitamin D and the difficulty of getting enough vitamin D in your diet, supplements are often the primary recommendation for people who are deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D can be found in many multivitamin supplements, but it can also be taken on its own. There are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Both types are available in supplement form, and their effect on overall vitamin D levels is roughly equivalent. However, some research has indicated that D3 may lead to a greater and more sustained elevation of vitamin D in the blood than D2.
Various studies have estimated that it takes up to 24 hours for vitamin D3 supplements to raise vitamin D levels in the bloodstream. However, vitamin D then needs to be converted to its active form . After taking a high dose of vitamin D3, a study showed it can take approximately seven days for it to convert and cause a peak in hydroxyvitamin D levels, the active form tested by your doctor.
The critical takeaway is that vitamin D levels increase gradually. If a test reveals that your vitamin D levels are low, you’ll need to consult with a doctor to determine how much vitamin D you need to take to raise your levels and keep them up.
While there is much debate about how much vitamin D people need, the Office of Dietary Supplements says:
Optimal Vitamin D Dose With Blood Test
If you suffer from a disease that makes it absolutely necessary for your vitamin D level to be in the optimal range, or if you want to know your exact level, then you should have your vitamin D level measured. The blood test to measure your vitamin D levels is called the 25D blood test.
The result of the blood test helps determine how much vitamin D you should take in the form of vitamin D capsules or vitamin D drops, etc., or whether you should increase your exposure to the sun in order to build up an optimal vitamin D level.
Since everyone absorbs vitamin D differently, the 25D value may develop differently. This means that not ever person will achieve exactly the same 25D level in their blood even if they take the same dose of vitamin D.
The following recommendations represent guidelines on how your vitamin D blood levels could increase when taking the respective amount of vitamin D. Therefore, this information should not be regarded as a guarantee for the specified values.
About 3 months after you begin taking your dose, you should have your vitamin D level re-measured to check on things. Once you have the result, you can assess how your vitamin D level has changed during the time you’ve been taking it, as well as to what extent the dose should be adjusted.
Other Diseases Related To Low Vitamin D Levels
For the male population, the consequences could be worse, including erectile dysfunction and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Likewise, heart diseases like atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes seem to have some relation to vitamin D deficiency.
All these illnesses are more common in afro-descendent and elder population living in cold climates.
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Your Value Is Between 0
This value indicates severe vitamin D deficiency and represents significant risk to health. This low vitamin D level means that calcium cannot be sufficiently absorbed into the blood, which may lead to osteomalacia. This may also affect muscle strength and motor coordination.
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:
20 ng/ml ..1000 IU 30 ng/ml ..2200 IU 40 ng/ml ..3600 IU 50 ng/ml ..5300 IU 60 ng/ml ..7400 IU 70 ng/ml ..10100 IU
What Is Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency means that you do not have enough vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is unique because your skin actually produces it by using sunlight. Fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those who are darker-skinned and over age 50.
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Uv Levels In Victoria
As shown in the table below, from mid-August to April, average UV levels in Victoria are three and above for much of the day. This level of UV increases the risk of overexposure and skin damage, and sun protection is recommended. Using good sun protection should not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.From May to mid-August, average UV levels in Victoria are low . During this time, sun protection is not recommended, unless you work outdoors, are near highly reflective surfaces , or are outside for extended periods.
Is Vitamin D Deficiency An Epidemic No Its Not
Thomas Carpenter, MD, Yale Medicine pediatric endocrinologist and director of the Yale School of Medicines Center for X-Linked Hypophosphatemia
Based on the United States Dietary Association and National Health and Nutrition Surveys , the bulk of the population is not vitamin D-deficient. The population we tend to see vitamin D deficiency inand its typically in wintertimeare breastfed infants. Breast milk doesn’t have much vitamin D in it. That’s what spurred a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that every breastfed infant be given vitamin D . But if infants aren’t given multivitamin drops, they need to be given 200 IU a day of vitamin D for the first two months of life and 400 units a day afterwards until theyre drinking formula or milk, which are each fortified with vitamin D.
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How Often Do You Need To Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked
Doctors do not usually order routine checks of vitamin D levels, but they might need to check your levels if you have certain medical conditions or risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches, a history of falls or bone fractures without significant trauma.
What Should My Vitamin D Level Be
Contact your doctor if you feel that you are at risk. Your doctor can refer you for a blood test. At present vitamin D levels of 50-60nmol/L are recommended for adults to maintain bone health and muscle strength.
In future this recommended level may become more tailored to suit the individual and their health difficulties. For instance, a recent small study reported improvements in insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance in response to improving low levels of vitamin D. This small study of South-Asian women living in New Zealand suggests that ethnicity may play a role in how vitamin D supplements is used by the body. More research is needed as ethnicity is not the only factor that affects your vitamin D level.
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How Is A Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnosed
Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D. There are two types of tests that might be ordered, but the most common is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, known as 25D for short. For the blood test, a technician will use a needle to take blood from a vein. You do not need to fast or otherwise prepare for this type of test.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
In healthy people, the amount of vitamin D needed per day varies by age. The chart below shows the often-cited recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, now the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is important to know that these are general recommendations. If your doctor is checking your blood levels, he or she might recommend higher or lower doses based on your individual needs.
If you have osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a blood test of your vitamin D levels. The amount of vitamin D supplement can be customized for each person, based on the results. For many older patients, a vitamin D supplement containing anywhere between 800 to 2000 IUs daily, which can be obtained without a prescription, can be both safe and beneficial. It is important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs.
|People by age|
*refers to adequate intake vs recommended dietary allowance of the other age groups.
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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.
Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity
Vitamin D deficiency may occur from a lack in the diet, poor absorption, or having a metabolic need for higher amounts. If one is not eating enough vitamin D and does not receive enough ultraviolet sun exposure over an extended period , a deficiency may arise. People who cannot tolerate or do not eat milk, eggs, and fish, such as those with a lactose intolerance or who follow a vegan diet, are at higher risk for a deficiency. Other people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency include:
- People with inflammatory bowel disease or other conditions that disrupt the normal digestion of fat. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that depends on the guts ability to absorb dietary fat.
- People who are obese tend to have lower blood vitamin D levels. Vitamin D accumulates in excess fat tissues but is not easily available for use by the body when needed. Higher doses of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to achieve a desirable blood level. Conversely, blood levels of vitamin D rise when obese people lose weight.
- People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, which typically removes the upper part of the small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed.
Conditions resulting from prolonged vitamin D deficiency:
Symptoms of toxicity:
- Weight loss
- Irregular heart beat
- Hardening of blood vessels and tissues due to increased blood levels of calcium, potentially leading to damage of the heart and kidneys
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Eat Foods High In Vitamin D
Although vitamin D only occurs in a few foods naturally, its often added to others.7 Adding these foods to your dietor adjusting how frequently you eat themis a good way to increase your vitamin D levels naturally.
Foods including fatty fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks, and mushrooms naturally have high levels of vitamin D.7 Other foods, especially dairy and plant-based milks, are frequently fortified with vitamin D.7
Below are foods that are good sources of vitamin D.
While it is helpful to know which foods are a good source of vitamin D, actually incorporating them into your diet can be a bit more tricky. Heather Shannon at UCI Health has put together a list of six recipes that are high in vitamin D to help get you started.
How Do We Get Vitamin D
Our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we’re outdoors. From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight.
Vitamin D is also added to all infant formula milk, as well as some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives.
The amounts added to these products can vary and may only be added in small amounts. Manufacturers must add vitamin D to infant formula milk by law.
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.
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How To Increase Vitamin D Levels While Isolating Indoors
Including vitamin D-rich foods and supplments are two ways you can ensure your body is not lacking this essential ‘sunshine vitamin’. Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D and help walk you through the next steps to see what’s best for you.
Why Is Vitamin D So Important
Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:
- Keeping bones strong: Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
- Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
- Working with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will borrow calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.
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Vitamin D And Safe Sun Exposure
UV levels vary depending on the time of year, and the amount of sun exposure you need varies accordingly.
The ‘daily sun protection times’ indicate when the UV level is forecast to be three or above. During these times, people are recommended to use a combination of sun protection measures .Check the free SunSmart app or the Bureau of Meteorology website for daily sun protection times for your location.
Check Your Levels With The Everlywell Vitamin D Test
If youâre concerned that youâre not getting enough vitamin D and are at an increased risk of conditions like osteoporosis, consider taking a test to see what your vitamin D level is like. Our at-home Vitamin D Test can help you check your vitamin D status from the comfort of your home. The test only requires a small sample of blood , which you send to a lab for analysis using the prepaid shipping label included with the kit.
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The Benefits Of Vitamin D
Beyond COVID-19, vitamin D can help fight critical illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It can also help control infections and reduce inflammation. And what makes it so effective in limiting the loss of bone density is that it helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone.
Not only does it help in the long term with major diseases and physical ailments, vitamin D also contributes to your mental health, as proper vitamin D levels have been associated with improved mood and reduction in symptoms of depression.
Why You Need Vitamin D
Vitamin D absorbs calcium and helps you maintain strong bones. It also contributes to the health of your muscles, nerves, and immune system.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may be at risk for developing rickets, osteoporosis and other bone disorders, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Over 41 percent of U.S. adults don’t get enough vitamin D. Older adults, people with dark skin, and those who are obese are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.
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The Final Verdict On Vitamin D
No bones about it, the endocrinologists we interviewed agree with our dermatologist.
“Just being outdoors, you get a fair amount of sun exposure and some sun-related generation of vitamin D, says Dr. Insogna. Because skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can be such a devastating disease, it’s best to use sunblock when outdoors in strong sunlight for any prolonged length of time. Because this may limit the amount of vitamin D you get from sun exposure, make sure your diet includes sources of vitamin D from foods or supplements, he says.
Both your skin and your bones will thank you.