Reduce The Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Observational studies in cell models suggest that vitamin D may help increase insulin sensitivity, boost beta cell function, and lessen inflammation all potential benefits for reducing the risk of and helping manage type 2 diabetes, notes an article published in March 2014 in Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America.
But vitamin D supplementation was not found to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a randomized, controlled clinical trial involving more than 3,600 participants that was published in June 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine, despite prior observational studies suggesting that it could. A dose of 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day did not result in a significantly lower risk of diabetes compared with a placebo.
The Link Between Vitamin D & Sleep
Perhaps you’ve heard some of the buzz out there right now that suggests that supplementing with vitamin D before hitting the hay can affect your ability to snooze? Well, it’s not a super-clear story right now.
Research has shown that vitamin D is involved in the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep. As mbg’s director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains, “The vitamin D and sleep relationship appears to be a bidirectional one. Suboptimal vitamin D status is linked to lower sleep quality and shorter sleep duration, and inadequate sleep is linked to a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. The science is young and emerging here.”
Holick concurs, “There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D promotes sleep, but research is ongoing.”* Indeed, vitamin D deficiency has been linked with several sleep issuesbut the true relationship between supplements and sleep still requires some investigation to understand, he explains.*
How Do You Ensure You Have Enough Vitamin D
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 international units for most people ages 1 to 70, according to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. For people over the age of 70 its 800 IU, and for infants its 400 IU.
But its not easy to get that much vitamin D through diet and sunlight alone. The average amount of the nutrient that an individual gets from food and drink rarely exceeds 288 IU per day. Even drinking milk fortified with vitamin D will get you only 100 IU per 8-ounce glass, and the same goes for most plant-milk substitutes that are fortified with vitamin D.
Thats why many people take vitamin D supplements. The Endocrine Society recommends that adults take 1,5002,000 IU per day in supplements to avoid vitamin D deficiency, and 1,000 IU per day for infants and children. Yet recommendations vary widely. Keep in mind that there can be too much of a good thing with vitamin D, which is why the FNB set an upper limit of 4,000 IU per day in supplementation for people over age 9 and 1,0003,000 IU for infants and children up to age 8, depending on age. Dosages beyond those increase the risk for death, cancer, and cardiovascular events, as well as falls and fractures in seniors.
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Getting Vitamin D From Food
Most foods dont contain much vitamin D so its hard to get enough vitamin D from food alone.
Foods which contain vitamin D include:
- oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout
- red meat
- liver and fish liver oil
- foods with vitamin D added such as most fat spreads, some breakfast cereals and some plant-based alternatives to milk. Check the labels.
- infant formula which has vitamin D added to make sure babies get enough.
As most of these foods are animal products, its harder to get vitamin D from food if you are vegan or vegetarian. Plant-based sources of vitamin D include sun-exposed mushrooms and fortified foods such as vegetable spreads, breakfast cereals and plant based dairy alternatives.
In the UK, cows’ milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it isn’t fortified, as it is in some other countries. There are some yoghurts which have been fortified, but check the label as they can also be high in saturated fat and so should be avoided.
Vitamin D Supplement Safety
Your body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but many people may not get enough due to a variety of factors. Because of this, people often turn to vitamin D supplements. Unfortunately, it isnt uncommon for people to overdo it.
A 2017 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that between 1999 and 2014, there was an increase in the number of American adults taking daily vitamin D supplements of 1,000 IU or more. Of these, 18% exceeded 1000 IU each day and 3% took more than 4,000 IU per day, which may place them at a higher risk of experiencing some adverse effects related to excessive vitamin D.
In most cases, you can get all of the vitamin D you need naturally without supplementation through sun exposure and diet. A 15-minute walk outside each day with your extremities exposed can boost vitamin D production. .
Eating foods that are naturally high in vitamin D or are fortified with the nutrient can help. Foods you can eat to boost your vitamin D levels include:
- Egg yolks
- Fortified milk, yogurt, or juice
- Fatter fish such as tuna or salmon
- Cod liver oil
If you do decide to take a vitamin D supplement to correct a deficiency or because you are unable to get an adequate amount through sunlight and diet, always follow your doctor’s guidelines and do not take more than recommended amounts.
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How Is Vitamin D Different From Other Nutrients
To get a better understanding of vitamin D and scientists long-held fascination with its functions, it’s first good to know that not all vitamins and minerals operate in the body alike.
We’re discovering that vitamin D behaves much less like a vitamin and much more like a hormone, says Robin Foroutan, RDN, an integrative dietitian at the Morrison Center in New York City and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That means vitamin D acts as a messenger rather than a participant in metabolism, potentially affecting everything from weight to how organs function.
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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Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults
Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.
Does Zinc Reverse Gray Hair
These three components are effective in fighting against graying hair. … There is some thought that grey hair may reflect a deficiency in certain nutrients including the minerals zinc and copper. Taking 15 mg of zinc along with 1 mg of copper each day may possibly help to prevent or delay the onset of grey hair.
Vitamin D Toxicity: How Does It Happen
Vitamin D toxicity implies that vitamin D levels in the body are so high that they cause harm.
Its also termed hypervitaminosis D.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. In contrast to water-soluble vitamins, the body has no easy way of getting rid of fat-soluble vitamins.
For this reason, excessive amounts may build up inside the body.
The exact mechanism behind vitamin D toxicity is complicated and isnt fully understood at this point.
However, we know that the active form of vitamin D functions in a similar way as a steroid hormone.
It travels inside cells, telling them to turn genes on or off.
Usually, most of the bodys vitamin D is in storage, bound to either vitamin D receptors or carrier proteins. Very little free vitamin D is available (
- Sufficient: 2030 ng/mL, or 5075 nmol/L
- Safe upper limit: 60 ng/mL, or 150 nmol/L
- Toxic: above 150 ng/mL, or 375 nmol/L
A daily vitamin D intake of 1,0004,000 IU should be enough to ensure optimal blood levels for most people.
Blood levels in the range of 2030 ng/mL are usually considered sufficient. The safe upper limit is considered to be about 60 ng/mL, but people with symptoms of toxicity usually have levels above 150 ng/mL.
Help Prevent Cognitive Decline And Dementia
Foroutan points out that there are vitamin D receptors in brain tissue, which suggests that the vitamin may play a role in cognitive function and, potentially, the risk of dementia. Research may support this notion, with one article suggesting that vitamin D may help clear up amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimers disease . The authors note that more research is needed to confirm a cause-and-effect relationship between an adequate level of vitamin D and the neurodegenerative disorder.
Meanwhile, a large review published in July 2018 in Nutritional Neuroscience found insufficient evidence that vitamin D supplements protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. Researchers wrote that they also couldnt confirm that vitamin D synthesized from sun exposure helps to protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Is A Vitamin D Loading Dose Necessary
An initial loading dose, perhaps administered all at one time or distributed over a series of administrations, is a common principle of drug therapy. Vitamin D is no exception and is actually a good model because it may take a matter of months to reach a steady state serum concentration if vitamin D-3 is administered at standard daily doses. Various loading dosage protocols have been published. For example, one protocol studied the administration of 100,000 IU doses of vitamin D-3 to be administered every 2 weeks for a total of 4 doses. Seven days after the fourth dose all subjects who were initially found to be vitamin D deficient were found to have reached sufficient 25D concentration. Note that it took two months to achieve sufficient serum concentration with this bi-weekly loading dose so, how well this would benefit COVID-19 prevention or treatment is uncertain especially in light of a study finding noted in my recent column that vitamin D’s ability to protect the risk of acute respiratory infection was seen in patients taking daily or weekly vitamin D but not in those who had dosage regimens consisting of large vitamin D bolus doses.
Another study demonstrated that administration of a vitamin D loading dose can achieve desired steady-state serum concentration within 5 weeks by administering a weekly loading dose calculated for each patient by using a dosage algorithm that incorporated patient weight, initial 25D concentration and target concentration.
Babies Need A Vitamin D Boost
Because a typical mothers breast milk does not give her baby enough vitamin D, breastfed babies need vitamin D supplementation. Either the baby can be given drops of 400 IU a day directly or the mother can take 5,000 IU a day , which will fortify her milk with enough vitamin D for the baby. We call this super milk!
Although all standard infant formulas are fortified with vitamin D, vitamin D supplementation is also recommended for formula-fed babies. A baby would need to drink a quart of formula each day to get the recommended amount of vitamin D, Dr. Levine says, and young infants may not take in that much. Consult with your babys pediatrician or healthcare provider to make sure they are getting all the vitamin D they need.
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When Does Vitamin D Supplementation Make Sense
Only a limited selection of foods contains vitamin D. So if you don’t like fatty fish or eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, the only way to cover your vitamin D needs is through the sun. However, this only works really well in the summer. In the other months of the year, the sun is too low to send enough UVB radiation to the earth. And then it really has to hit the naked skin. In autumn and winter this becomes difficult because we wear long-sleeved clothes. But even in summer there are disturbing factors. As important as UV protection is for preventing skin cancer, it is detrimental to vitamin D synthesis. High sunscreen filters on the skin inhibit vitamin D absorption. When the UV index is low, e.g. when the sky is cloudy, less UVB radiation reaches the skin. And watch out! There are new findings that even showering directly after sunbathing hinders absorption, because the provitamin D formed in the outer layers of the skin needs up to 48 hours to be absorbed by the body.
According to a study by the Robert Koch Institute from 2008 to 2011 with almost 7000 adult test persons, around 56 % of Germans did not reach the recommended concentration of vitamin D in the blood of 50 nmol/l.1
Check Your Supplements More Isnt Always Better
For Portlanders, moderate deficiency in the sunshine vitamin is about as common as a cloudy day. Since we cant get the daily sun exposure needed to synthesize our own vitamin D year-round, many of us pop a supplement to keep our levels in check and in most cases, thats a good thing. But in some cases, we could be taking too much and that can be a problem.
You need vitamin D to help you absorb calcium, among other benefits. But extra high blood levels of vitamin D may encourage your body to stash extra calcium where its not wanted in your kidneys, for example, which is why high levels of vitamin D make you more vulnerable to kidney stones. Calcium deposits in the arteries are another potential concern. High vitamin D levels also can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, loss of appetite, dehydration and frequent urination.
When people have too much vitamin D in their blood, its almost always caused by over-use of dietary supplements. That doesnt mean you should stop taking vitamin D altogether, but do take a closer look at how much youre taking to make sure youre not overdoing it.
Enough vs. too much where do you draw the line?
The recommendations may vary depending on your age, health, ethnicity and even whom you ask. But as a general guideline, the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends getting 15 mcg of vitamin D daily from the age of 1 through 70, and 20 mcg from age 71 on.
Two ways we get into trouble
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When Should You Take Vitamin D Morning Or Night
There is limited research on whether taking vitamin D in the morning or at night is better, so its really up to personal preference. Some people find taking vitamin D in the morning or at a certain time of day useful for remembering, especially if they also take other tablets. Whereas others prefer the evenings at dinner time, with some research suggesting better absorption with a meal, but other minimal evidence would suggest that late-night consumption could affect sleep.
Konstantin Karuzin, co-founder and medical director at Bioniq, tells GoodtoKnow that ultimately aiming for breakfast could be best. Breakfast is a great time to take an immune supporting supplement, such as bioniq IMMUNE, which contains the highest-grade antioxidants and Swiss manufactured vitamins, including Zinc, Vitamin D3, K2 and C. It is blended into tiny granules that should be taken in the morning and then again in the evening for optimal absorption. This unique absorption process allows you to digest and tolerate the granules easier than vitamins that are taken singularly in pill format, which can often cause nausea and other adverse side effects. Simply mix the formula into smoothies, on top of yogurt or with juice or water.