Editorial Sources And Fact
How To Supplement Vitamin D In Babies
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 4,113 times.
You might have heard someone say they’re going to soak up some vitamin D. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. This is the main source of vitamin D, although it is found in some foods. Since vitamin D is vital for bone growth and because most babies don’t get enough sunlight, you may need to give your baby a vitamin D supplement.
What Is Vitamin D
Although classified as a vitamin, Vitamin D is also a hormone, as its effects on your body mimic those of other hormones. Believe it or not, scientists are still discovering new ways in which vitamin D interacts with our body and influences everything from our physical to mental health. What they do know is many of our organs and tissues have vitamin D receptors, and that proper supplementation ensures their optimal function.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed properly. One of its main functions is allowing the intestines to efficiently absorb calcium and phosphorus to build strong bones and joints.
Its also thought to be a great immune modulator, to help reduce inflammation, and its even been connected to cancer prevention. With all the current research being done, its only a matter of time before we find out more information on this incredible vitamin/hormone.
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Q: Why Is Vitamin D Important
A: Research I have done in this area has found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure later in life. In pregnant women, low vitamin D levels are linked to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. No matter your age or stage of life, having adequate vitamin D levels is important.
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.
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Vital Choice Wild Sockeye Salmon Oil & Vitamin D3
This product contains vitamin D3 from lanolin, as well as wild salmon oil, which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Three capsules provide 3,000 IU of vitamin D3, giving adults more than enough of this nutrient per day. However, a person can take fewer capsules if they want or need a lower amount.
This product is National Sanitation Foundation Certified for Sport, which means that it has undergone testing for contaminants and banned substances and that the manufacturers meet CGMP standards.
This liquid vitamin D product contains 100 IU of vitamin D3 per drop. Six drops would provide an adult with the recommended daily amount of vitamin D.
According to the manufacturers, in safe amounts, this supplement is also suitable for children.
This brand has certifications from Underwriters Laboratories , which runs the UL National Brand Certification Program. This means that the companys manufacturing, packaging, and warehousing practices are safe.
Geographical Location And Season
The closer you live to the equator, the more vitamin D youll be able to produce year-round because of your physical proximity to the suns rays.
Conversely, your opportunities for adequate sun exposure decreases proportionally the farther away from the equator you live (
While its vital to protect yourself from skin cancer by avoiding overexposure to sunlight, it takes very little unprotected sun exposure for your body to start producing vitamin D.
Although theres no official recommendation, sources suggest that as few as 815 minutes of exposure is enough to make plenty of vitamin D for lighter-skinned individuals. Those with darker skin may need more time .
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How Much Vitamin D Should I Take For Optimal Health
Your need for vitamin D goes up if any of these factors apply to you:
- You know youre already deficient in vitamin D
- You have dark skin
- Youre an older adult over 70 . Infants, children and older adults are all at risk for low vitamin D.
- You spend little time outdoors or always wear sunscreen when exposed to sunlight
- Youre a shift worker, health care worker or another indoor worker, which means you get little outdoor time and sunlight exposure
- Youre overweight or obese
- You are a nursing home resident or hospitalized patient
- You have a health condition, such as celiac disease, Crohns disease or cystic fibrosis, that interferes with absorption and processing of vitamin D in the intestines, kidneys or liver
- Breast-fed infants are also at risk for vitamin D deficiency, which is why supplementing is recommended
How much vitamin D should women take per day?
According to the USDA and National Institutes of Health, the standard recommendation of vitamin D that adult women should take in order to prevent deficiency is between 600 to 800 international units per day, depending on age. The exact number is debatable, and some experts feel that a higher dose of vitamin D, around 2,ooo to 5,000 IU per day, may be more beneficial.
How much vitamin D should men take per day?
The standard recommendation for adult men is also between 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day. Adults over 70 should supplement with more, at least 800 IU per day, while younger adults need at least 600 IU daily.
Why Vitamin D Helps And Where To Find It
Vitamin D helps the immune system function smoothly, so having sufficient levels in your body may help you fight COVID-19 if you get sick.
Your skin makes vitamin D when its exposed directly to sunlight. If you spend the bulk of your time indoors, you may not produce much vitamin D on your own. You can get the nutrient from your diet, but there arent many foods that are rich in vitamin D. Taking dietary supplements is another option.
Common sources of vitamin D include:
- fortified dairy products, like milk and yogurt
- fortified non-dairy milk products, including almond, soy and oat milk
- fortified orange juice
- dietary supplements
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Type 2 diabetes is a precursor to a whole list of complications that are mostly ignored by people until the consequences start getting out of hand. It is important to be vigilant about your blood sugar levels if you have been termed as diabetic by your doctor or if you lie in the pre-diabetic range.
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Calcium And Vitamin D: A Partnership
Calcium and vitamin D is the dynamic duo that works together to strengthen and protect your bones. For years, healthcare providers have recommended that postmenopausal women take calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that is a major cause of devastating fractures in old age.
Research linking calcium supplements to heart attack and stroke caused many to take vitamin D supplements alone for prevention.
Calcium supplements can increase calcification in the arteries and predispose people, especially women, to heart disease, he says. Thats why we always prefer dietary calcium. However, some people get adequate dietary calcium but are low in vitamin D.
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Vitamin D And Your Body
There’s so much that vitamin D does for the body. It’s linked to improving mood, increasing energy and boosting the immune system.
A March 2014 review in the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine indicates that Vitamin D has been found to help with:
- Muscle weakness
A review and meta-analysis published in 2015 in Obesity Reviews notes the link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency. Don’t go doubling your D intake just yet, though. Taking a dose of vitamin D at 50,000 IU for weight loss has yet to be proven effective.
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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The Best Vitamin D Supplements
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Most people can get enough vitamin D from sunlight and food. However, some people may need to take a vitamin D supplement to help them get enough of this nutrient.
This article looks at who may need a vitamin D supplement, how much people need by age, and some vitamin D products to consider. It also discusses how to get more vitamin D naturally.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for healthy bones, immune function, and cell growth.
Some people are more at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. According to the National Institutes for Health , these groups include:
If a person is concerned that they might not be getting enough vitamin D, a doctor can provide a blood test to confirm whether or not they have a deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiencies can cause conditions that affect the bones, such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. This is because vitamin D deficiencies reduce calcium absorption.
Deficiencies in vitamin D can also lead to rickets. However, in the U.S., most companies fortify milk with vitamin D. This has lead to rickets becoming rarer.
A persons daily requirement for vitamin D depends on their age, whether or not they are pregnant, and whether or not they have any underlying medical conditions.
The provides a general guideline as follows:
The following brands or products:
How To Buy The Best Vitamin D Supplement
Luckily, when choosing a vitamin D supplement, most labels will include the form of vitamin D that has been used within the product, either D2 or D3, so you are well informed and can choose products accordingly.
While all forms of vitamin D supplements can help improve your vitamin D status to some extent, it is in your best interest to choose D3 for maximum effectiveness.
In addition to consuming a supplement, you should also increase your intake of D2 and D3 rich foods, and aim to spend time outdoors each day to aid in improving your vitamin D status.
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How Much Should You Take
The only way to know if you are deficient and thus need to supplement is by having your blood levels measured.
Your healthcare provider will measure the storage form of vitamin D, which is known as calcifediol. Anything under 12 ng/ml is considered deficient, and anything above 20 ng/ml is considered adequate.
The RDI for vitamin D is as follows (
- 400 IU : infants, 012 months
- 600 IU : children and adults, 170 years old
- 800 IU : older adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women
Although adequacy is measured at 20 ng/ml, many health experts believe that people should aim for blood levels higher than 30 ng/ml for optimal health and disease prevention .
Additionally, many believe that the recommended intake is far too low and that people need much more to reach optimal blood levels .
According to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the safe upper limit is 4,000 IU per day .
Vitamin D3 supplements appear to be more effective at raising vitamin D levels than D2 supplements. D3 capsules are available in most supermarkets and health food stores, as well as online.
The RDI for vitamin D is 400 IU for infants, 600 IU for children and adults, and 800 IU for older adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Vitamin D: Vital For Health
Its long been known that Vitamin D functions with calcium to keep bones healthy and avoid deformities such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. But it is becoming increasingly clear that it also plays a vital role for our immune system, helping to fight off bacterial, viral and fungal invaders.
Vitamin D appears to boost immunity through several ways, such as helping immune cells to function properly and dampening the inflammatory response.1,2,3 There is even some evidence that it protects against coronavirus, since low Vitamin D levels have been associated with both a higher number of coronavirus deaths and cases for European countries and more severe outcomes for individuals affected by the disease.4,5It may be no coincidence that the pandemic broke out in winter, when peoples Vitamin D levels are typically at their lowest.6
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Why Certain People May Need A Vitamin D Supplement
Why are some groups at greater risk of low vitamin D levels? In most cases, it can be traced back to their diet or lifestyle. Take vegans, for instance. Many have low vitamin D levels because they avoid foods that are rich in vitamin D including meat, fish, egg yolks, and dairy products that have been fortified with the vitamin. One study published in February 2016 in PLoS One found vitamin D serum concentration was 34 percent lower among study participants who followed a vegan diet compared with those who ate meat and dairy.
But there are ways to get added Vitamin D into your diet as a vegan. For instance, plant milk beverages, such those made from soy, oats, and almond, are often fortified with vitamin D to the level found in fortified cows milk , according to the National Institutes of Health. Check the nutrition facts label for the actual amount.
People with obesity also may need a supplement. Research has suggested the possible reasons for deficiency include a lower dietary intake of vitamin D among obese men compared with nonobese men and women, the possibility that obese people expose less skin to the sun , and a decrease in the absorption rate of vitamin D among people whove had bariatric or gastric bypass procedures. Indeed, one study suggested recommendations for vitamin D targets should be based on body weight rather than simply suggesting 600 IU for everyone across the board.