Vitamin D Supplements: How To Take Them Safely
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Please read this document in full before you decide whether to opt in and before you start taking the vitamin D supplements that have been provided to you.
How Often Can You Take 50000 Iu Of Vitamin D
50,000 IU capsules are available by prescription only. If your blood levels are exceptionally low, you may need higher doses that should be used under the direction of a healthcare provider. In patients with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/mL, start with 50,000 IUs of vitamin D3 once a week for 6 8 weeks.
Vitamin D Dose And Blood Levels
A dose of 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day will help 50% of people to maintain a vitamin D blood level of 33 ng/ml . Whereas a dose of 2,000 IU per day will help almost everyone to maintain a blood level of 33 ng/ml . This is the dose found in a high quality vitamin/mineral supplement, and why most people need to take an additional stand-alone vitamin D dose. However, it is not necessarily your ideal target dose.
As a rule of thumb, increasing your vitamin D dosage by 1000 IU per day, will increase your vitamin D blood level by 10 ng/ml .
Increasing your vitamin D dose by 2000 IU per day, will increase your vitamin D blood level by 20 ng/ml .
Depending on the results of your vitamin D blood test, you can increase your daily dose of vitamin D to reach your target level. It is clear that everyone needs to take at least 4000 IU per day to maintain the suggested minimum of 50 ng/ml .
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Can You Get Enough Vitamin D From The Sun Alone
Some people will be able to get enough vitamin D just from sunlight. However, it depends on where in the world they live, the time of year, the time of day, and their skin color.
People who live nearer the equator get more sun exposure. In the Northern Hemisphere, a person may not get sufficient vitamin D from sunlight during the winter.
The sun is usually strongest between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. In the summer, a person does not need to be out in the sun for very long during this period to make enough vitamin D.
The amount of melanin a persons skin contains affects how much vitamin D they can make. Less melanin results in lighter skin, which does not protect as well against harmful ultraviolet rays.
People with more melanin in their skin have better protection from the sun, but take longer to make vitamin D. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic black people are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
These varied factors make it difficult to recommend how much sunlight a person should get to make the vitamin D that their body needs.
The Vitamin D Council gives some examples:
- At noon during summer in Miami, someone with a medium skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 6 minutes.
- At noon during summer in Boston, someone with a darker skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 2 hours.
- egg yolk
- beef liver
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
It’s not easy to spot a vitamin D deficiency. Some people might feel tired or get aches and pains.
But others may not have any symptoms until it’s too late, for example bowed legs or poor growth in children.
Your doctor can carry out a blood test to check your levels, but if you’re worried about your exposure to the sun or it’s winter you should start taking a supplement.
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Which Type Of Vitamin D Should I Take
Most supplements contain vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol. Studies suggest that this increases blood levels a little better than vitamin D2 .
Both these versions of vitamin D require processing by the liver and kidneys. People with liver or kidney disease may need to get a special type of supplement from their doctors.
Although Vitamin D supplements are usually taken daily, they also come in higher doses, which may be prescribed for weekly or even monthly dosing.
With Food Or Without Food
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which affects vitamin D storage and absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins are usually absorbed in fat globules that pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
A common theory is that by taking vitamin D supplements with a meal that contains fat, vitamin D is more easily and effectively absorbed into the bloodstream.
A study by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants who took vitamin D supplements with a high-fat meal absorbed up to 32% more vitamin D than those who had a fat-free meal.
As such, it’s common for health care professionals to suggest taking vitamin D supplements with the largest meal of the day .
There are, however, a vast number of conflicting studies that find no connection between higher levels of vitamin D and consuming vitamin D supplements with food.
It seems that in the case of whether to take vitamin D with food or not, the jury is still out.
According to John Cannell, head of the vitamin D Council , when it comes to popping that vitamin D pill, “take it on a full stomach, take it on an empty stomach. Take it once a day, take it twice a day. Take it with fat, take it without fat. None of that matters.”
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People At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some people will not make enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that adults and children over 4 take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- are not often outdoors for example, if they’re frail or housebound
- are in an institution like a care home
- usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
If you have dark skin for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background you may also not make enough vitamin D from sunlight.
You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
Incorporating It Into Your Morning
Many people prefer to take supplements such as vitamin D first thing in the morning.
Not only is it often more convenient, but its also easier to remember your vitamins in the morning than later in the day.
This is especially true if youre taking multiple supplements, as it can be challenging to stagger supplements or medications throughout the day.
For this reason, it may be best to get in the habit of taking your vitamin D supplement with a healthy breakfast.
Using a pillbox, setting an alarm or storing your supplements near your dining table are a few simple strategies to remind you to take your vitamin D.
Some people may find that taking vitamin D first thing in the morning is more convenient and easier to remember than taking it later on.
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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.
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.*
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Vitamin D3 Dosage In Adults 50 And Older
If you are 50 and over, you need more vitamin D3. Part of the reason for this is that your parathyroid glands are usually less efficient at converting the storage form of vitamin D, D3, into the active form of vitamin D, D2.
Keeping enough vitamin D2 in your bloodstream requires having more D3 stored in skin and fat. Taking a supplement of up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day acts as “insurance” that your tissues will always have the activated vitamin D they need.
How much vitamin D3 should I take if I am deficient? Children and adults at any age can become deficient in vitamin D3, even if they get lots of sun. One study found that 1 in 3 professional surfers on the north shore of Maui, where the sun shines nearly every day, had a vitamin D3 deficiency.
Since toxicity symptoms are unknown below daily dosages of 40,000 IU per day, the US Institute of Medicine recommends taking up to 4,000 IU per day as an unquestionably safe dosage. The idea behind setting the limit low is making sure that even if a vitamin manufacturer accidentally made the product 10 times too strong or even if the consumer accidentally took more than one dose per day, there still would be no injurious side effects. Actually, you can take 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day will no ill effects.
Does Vitamin D Promote Healthy Sleep
Older adults often have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. One possible culprit? Not getting enough vitamin D. Its estimated that more than two out of five adults have a vitamin D deficiency. And some studies have linked a lack of vitamin D with sleep troubles. Does that mean getting enough vitamin D can help you get a good nights sleep?
Although medical research has yet to give a clear answer, the bottom line seems to be: It could help, and, aside from taking toxic doses of vitamin D supplements, it couldnt hurt.
Heres what may be helpful to know about this important nutrientand how a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and outdoor activity can help you get more D, and just maybe a solid 40 winks.
Vitamin D and sleep
As we age, several factors may interfere with getting a good nights sleep:
- changes in routine after retirement
- side effect of prescription medications
- stress and worries
- middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom
- pain from chronic health conditions
What is the Best Time of Day to Take Vitamin D?
How much Vitamin D do I need to help sleep?
So how do you get enough vitamin D? There are three ways: food, sun and supplements. Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish and sardines
- Fortified dairy products such as milk and yogurt
- Fortified cereals and citrus juices
- Egg yolks
The Five Star Vitamin D “prescription”: good eating, great fun
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How Often Is Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem. However, it is more common in young women, infants, the elderly, and people with dark skin. About 42% of the U.S. population has vitamin D. However, this level rises to 82% for black people and 70% for Hispanics.
If you have access to the strong sun all year round, then occasional sunlight is not enough to meet your vitamin D. However, if you live too far north or south of the equator your vitamin D levels may change over time. Rates may fall during the winter months, due to a lack of adequate sunlight.
In that case, you need to rely on your diet for vitamin D, as well as for vitamin D which is stored in body fat in the summer.
In adults, vitamin D deficiency can:
- Create muscle weakness.
- Intensify bone loss.
- Increase the risk of cracking.
In children, severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to delays in growth and marketing, a disease in which the bones become weak.
Also, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several cancers, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, and thyroid problems.
What Is The Ideal Time To Take It
Taking vitamin D with a meal can enhance its absorption and increase blood levels more efficiently.
However, theres limited research on whether taking it at night or in the morning may be more effective.
The most important steps are to fit vitamin D into your routine and take it consistently to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Try taking it alongside breakfast or with a bedtime snack as long as it doesnt interfere with your sleep.
The key is to find what works for you and stick with it to ensure youre meeting your vitamin D needs.
Taking vitamin D with a meal can increase its absorption, but studies on specific timing are limited. For best results, experiment with different schedules to find what works for you.
Supplements can be an effective way to boost your blood levels of vitamin D, which is crucial to your health.
Taking vitamin D with food can enhance its effectiveness, as its fat-soluble.
While the best timing has not been established, scientific data to confirm anecdotal reports that supplementing at night may interfere with sleep is unavailable.
Current research suggests you can fit vitamin D into your routine whenever you prefer.
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Coronavirus And Vitamin D
Theres been a lot of buzz around vitamin D and coronavirus, but in June 2020 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence concluded that based on the existing research there was no evidence that taking vitamin D supplements could prevent or treat coronavirus or other respiratory tract infections.
However, its well established that vitamin D supports the normal function of your immune system. So if you do catch coronavirus, your recovery might be easier if youre not deficient.
More recently, a new US has study backed this up, finding that patients with low vitamin D levels suffered more complications with Covid-19.
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What You Can Do Now
If youre concerned about vitamin D deficiency, ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level, says Dr. Deal. If the level is low and your provider starts you on supplements, you need repeat testing in eight to 12 weeks to make sure the level is not too high or too low.
If testing shows your vitamin D level is normal, you need repeat testing every two to three years unless you have major changes in your overall health.
Different diseases need different doses of vitamin D. If you have chronic kidney disease or parathyroid disease, ask your kidney specialist or endocrinologist about the type and dose of vitamin D you need.
If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, Dr. Deal recommends you keep taking vitamin D supplements as long as your doctor prescribes them. The supplement is linked to healthy development for you and your baby.
For bone health, be sure to stay active and remember to eat a calcium-rich diet. Consult with your doctor frequently to make sure youre taking the right steps to current bone health.
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Not Getting Enough Vitamin D
We dont need vitamin D from food or sunlight every day. But if you dont get enough over a longer period of time, you wont have enough vitamin D for good health known as vitamin D deficiency. This is very common in the UK around one in five adults and one in six children dont have enough vitamin D.
Some people are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than others. Supplements and eating foods which contain vitamin D can help.
Are Sprays Better Than Tablets
If you don’t like swallowing tablets, sprays can be a preferred way to get your daily dose. But there’s no evidence to suggest this is a more effective way to absorb vitamin D, despite what the marketing implies.
In a randomised, controlled trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2019, healthy volunteers were given either a 75mcg vitamin D capsule, a 75mcg spray or a placebo over a six weeks.
Blood concentration levels of vitamin D were tested at regular intervals and at the end of the trial the results showed significant rises in blood concentrations of vitamin D in the people in the two groups receiving supplementation compared with those in the placebo group.
The researchers concluded that sprays are just as effective as tablets but not better.
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