What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Vitamin D Supplement
The government says around 25% of teenagers and adults in the UK have low levels of vitamin D, which puts them at risk.
As there are so few food sources of vitamin D, and sun exposure can be unreliable, supplements are considered a safe way to prevent a deficiency.10
A 2013 review of evidence concluded that a vitamin D supplement could help protect against coughs and colds, while a separate 2013 study reported that women with lower levels of vitamin D experience tiredness and low energy.11,12
With so many factors putting us at risk of low levels, it makes sense to look at ways to supplement.
Some foods are fortified with Vitamin D, although you need to be sure it is Vitamin D3 and not just Vitamin D2.
Cod liver oil is a good source of Vitamin D supplementation .
A quality Vitamin D3 or wide-spectrum Vitamin D supplement is a sensible way to keep your daily levels topped up.
The most helpful aspect of taking any trustworthy health supplement is peace of mind. Just one little tablet or capsule per day and you can carry on knowing that you have covered your health bases.
With Vitamin D, you will be protecting your bone health, supporting your immune system, and helping your body build and maintain cells. That is why Vitamin D is one of the most important supplements you can take.
How Does Vitamin D Work
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B rays, your body naturally produces Vitamin D3. D2 is created in a similar fashion, yet through the synthesis of sunlight by mushrooms and plants. There are three ways you can obtain vitamin d for your body from the sun, vitamin d supplements, and from food, preferred in that exact order. Wow, supplements over the food you say? Yes, exactly. The reason is simple: most individuals arent exposed to UVB rays at least 15 minutes a day, uncovered and unprotected . Foods fortified with Vitamin D2 also dont contain enough vitamin D to provide the body with the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D . For these reasons, vitamin D3 supplementation is the most effective way to get the daily recommended amount of vitamin D.
Its estimated that nearly 1 billion people or 50% of the world population is vitamin d deficient. Low vitamin d levels can result in abnormalities in bone metabolism, slow wound healing, chronic fatigue, depressed mood states, muscle weakness, and depression .
According to a national nutrition examination survey 41.6% of US adults exhibited vitamin d deficiency, with the highest rate seen in African Americans at 82.1% followed by those of Hispanic descent at 69.2% .
How Should I Take Cholecalciferol
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all the guides or instruction sheets. Use only the recommended dose of cholecalciferol.
It may be best to take cholecalciferol after a meal, but you may take it with or without food.
Measure liquid cholecalciferol carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
To take a disintegrating tablet, place it on your tongue and do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.
The cholecalciferol wafer is usually taken only once per week or once per month. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully. The wafer must be chewed before you swallow it.
While using cholecalciferol, you will need frequent blood tests. You may also need x-rays.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with cholecalciferol.
Cholecalciferol may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes dietary changes and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Learn about the foods you should eat to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your cholecalciferol dose may need to be adjusted as you make changes to your diet.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, light, and heat.
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Can Vegans Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Vegans can be more susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency. The double whammy of not getting enough sunlight during the winter months and not being able to eat most of the food sources of vitamin D can make it a little more difficult.
However, even with meat, dairy and eggs off the menu, there are still natural vegan sources of vitamin D like mushrooms for vitamin D2 and lichen for vitamin D3.
As these are limited, a vitamin D supplement is recommended. Especially for vitamin D3 as we dont think many vegans will be chowing down on some lichen!
Differences Between Vitamin D2 And D3
So what are the differences between Vitamin D2 and D3? Although both Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are converted into an active form of Vitamin D in the body, they differ in their potency and duration of action. Vitamin D2 is less potent and has a shorter duration of action than Vitamin D3. For this reason, Vitamin D3 is the preferred treatment for people with a Vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising blood levels of Vitamin D and is better absorbed by the body. For example, Vitamin D3 has been shown to improve bone density, while Vitamin D does not appear to have this effect. Therefore, although both nutrients are important for health, Vitamin D3 may be the better choice for people who want to improve their bone health.
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What Is Vitamin D And What Does It Do
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in only a few foods and also available as a dietary supplement. It can also be synthesized in the skin from cholesterol when exposed to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight.
Vitamin D can be found in several foods, including fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk. In recent years, there has been an increase in foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals and orange juice. Vitamin D deficiency is common among people with limited sun exposure, such as those who are housebound, have darker skin pigmentation, live in northern latitudes, or wear clothing that covers most of their skin when outdoors.
Introducing Vitamin D And D3
In the UK, about one in five adults are thought to be living with low levels of Vitamin D. Meanwhile, 16% of the nations children are believed to have a deficiency. These are big numbers yet it is not a problem limited to the UK. Rather, researchers have dubbed Vitamin D deficiency a major global public health problem.
However, despite the panic, if you have been researching how to keep your Vitamin D levels up, you may have found this essential fat-soluble vitamin to be a little more complex than it first appeared. There is no single Vitamin D, but a number of different vitamins that fall into this group.
In this article, were going to investigate one of these in particular. Thats Vitamin D3. So, Vitamin D vs Vitamin D3: whats the difference? And which is better? Lets take a look.
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Do I Need To Take A Vitamin D Supplement When Im Pregnant
It is especially important to make sure your vitamin D levels are topped up when you are pregnant.
Not only will it help keep you healthy and your immune system healthy throughout your pregnancy, but it also plays an important role in your babys development.
A growing baby in the womb cannot make its own vitamin D, so it relies on you to have enough in your body for both of you. It allows your body to absorb calcium and phosphate to help your babys bones grow, especially in the second half of your pregnancy.
The Department of Health England recommends that pregnant women receive 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.13
As this is difficult to obtain through diet and sunlight absorption alone, a supplement could be helpful to top levels up, especially for women who are pregnant during spring or winter and women with darker skin as they wont absorb as much sunlight.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Vitamin D
If you take too much vitamin D, you may experience symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, and dizziness. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own.
Taking too much vitamin D can also lead to more serious health problems such as kidney stones and high blood calcium levels. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking vitamin D and see your doctor right away.
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Should I Take Vitamin D Or D3 Daily
The two main forms of vitamin D are vitamin D3 and vitamin D. Both are essential for human health, but they have some key differences. Let’s take a closer look at the two vitamins and how they differ.
Vitamin D is important for bone health and it helps the body absorb calcium. It can be found in food sources such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk. Vitamin D can also be made in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone problems such as Rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
What Is Better Taking Vitamin D Supplements Or Getting Vitamin D From Natural Sources
Getting vitamin D naturally is far better for you than taking supplements and it isnt because supplements dont work. In the case of vitamin D, it is possible to take too much, which can lead to certain toxicities.
However, when vitamin D is absorbed in the body from through the skin, it is not possible for you to overdose. You see, the skin simply stops absorbing the vitamins when there is enough stored in the body. After that, you are just getting exposure to the sun.
When it comes to supplementation, vitamin D supplements are effective. However, the body doesnt absorb as many nutrients from the supplement as it does from the sun.
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Can I Take Vitamin D3 Everyday / How Much Should I Take
Yes, you can take daily vitamin D supplements. There are some dosages that are designed for once weekly or once monthly dosing, so it is important to go over this with your healthcare professional. Many Americans are vitamin D deficient, but should we all be taking the same amount? The answer is no. The appropriate dose for your supplementation will depend on your health status, your sun exposure, whether or not you are pregnant, and your age, just to name a few factors. Consult your physician or pharmacist for a recommendation.
Benefits Of Vitamin D
You already know that vitamin D is essential for some processes in your body, like bone remodeling, calcium absorption, and cellular functioning. Most people are also familiar with vitamin Ds role in helping to prevent osteoporosis .
More studies need to be done to clarify some potential benefits of vitamin Dits been associated with everything from increased longevity to improved immunity to a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis .
Another study found that patients who supplemented with vitamin D reported an improvement in their depression symptoms. But thats just the beginning of the long list of functions vitamin D has in your body, which potentially includes the prevention of some cancers such as prostate, colon, and breast .
Men especially want to take note: Some studies show that, if youre deficient, supplementing with vitamin D can improve sexual functioning and give testosterone levels a boost. Although some studies are done specifically on vitamin D3, the benefits of vitamin D3 and D2 are the same as they both affect your overall blood levels of vitamin D .
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Vitamin D Across The Life Cycle
Overall, vitamin D’s role at different life stages is less clearly age-related than that of calcium, and also less well understood, with numerous gaps in basic information. Although some aspects of vitamin D nutrition and physiology have been found to differ with life stage, most of the functions of vitamin D are quite consistent across life stages from infancy and childhood, to adolescence, adulthood, and old age. For all life stages highlighted below, specific studies and conclusions are detailed in .
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.
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So Which Should I Take
Vitamin D deficiency is now more prevalent than ever, with around a billion people worldwide being vitamin D deficient. It is important that people at risk of vitamin D deficiency older adults, people living in less sunny climates and people with darker skin take vitamin D supplements.
Health professionals recommend that most people take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, especially in winter. It would appear that vitamin D3 supplements are the superior option for maintaining vitamin D levels, but short exposure of the skin to the sun, even on a cloudy day, will also help you keep healthy vitamin D levels.
D3 Is The Sunshine Vitamin D2 Isnt
Its vitamin D3 that is found in the skin, after sunshine converts cholesterol into the pre-vitamin cholecalciferol. It is this vitamin D that is found in egg yolks, oily fish, some fortified foods and some supplements.
Vitamin D2 can be found in supplements and comes from plant and/or fungal sources such as mushrooms.
So, vitamin D3 is the form naturally found in the body, and as a supplement is normally manufactured from lanolin which is sourced from sheeps wool. Vegan supplements contain the D2 version of the vitamin.
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Why Is It Important
Vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining bone strength and absorbing calcium.1 Consuming enough vitamin D is crucial to help prevent excessive bone fractures and osteoporosis. Vitamin D can also help support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
According to the United States National Institutes of Health, adults aged 19-70 are recommended to consume 20mcg per day.2 Seniors aged 70+ and children aged 1-18 should consume 15mcg per day. 2
Calcium And Phosphate Homeostasis
The dominant function of vitamin D in its hormonal form is the elevation of plasma calcium and phosphate levels, which are required for mineralization of bone . Furthermore, the elevation of plasma calcium to normal levels is also required for the functioning of the neuromuscular junction as well as vasodilatation, nerve transmission, and hormonal secretion.
functioning as part of the endocrine system for maintaining serum calcium levels as outlined in elevates plasma ionized calcium levels to the normal range by three different mechanisms . The first mechanism, which does not require , is the well-established role of calcitriol in stimulating intestinal calcium absorption throughout the entire length of the intestine, although its greatest activity is in the duodenum and jejunum. It is clear that calcitriol directly stimulates intestinal calcium and, independently, phosphate absorption.
In the second mechanism, calcitriol plays an essential role in the mobilization of calcium from bone, a process requiring . It induces the formation and activation of the osteoclast to function in the mobilization of calcium from bone, as discussed in . In short, calcitriol facilitates the formation of osteoclasts by stimulating the secretion of a protein called receptor activator for nuclear factor B ligand, which, in turn, is responsible for osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption .
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Different Effects On The Immune System
A recent study found that vitamin D2 and D3 supplementation had different effects on genes important for immune function. These findings are significant, as most previous research has failed to find much difference in the effect of supplementation with either vitamin D2 or D3.
Most of the research published to date has suggested that the main difference between vitamin D2 and D3 supplementation is the effect on circulating vitamin D levels in the bloodstream. Studies have repeatedly shown that vitamin D3 is superior at raising levels of vitamin D in the body. These findings were supported by a recent review of the evidence which found that vitamin D3 supplementation increased vitamin D levels in the body better than vitamin D2. But not all studies agree.
Very few studies support vitamin D2 supplementation being superior to vitamin D3. One trial showed that vitamin D2 was better at treating immune issues in patients who were on steroid therapy. However, other than increasing vitamin D levels in the body, there is not much evidence that vitamin D3 supplements are better than vitamin D2 supplements. One study found that vitamin D3 improved calcium levels more than vitamin D2. But we need more research to provide definitive answers.