Avoid Excess Vitamin D
People taking vitamin D supplements may experience hypervitaminosis. Having too much vitamin D immediately increases your absorption of calcium and phosphorus, according to a January 2018 report in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This increase creates a kidney-damaging calcium-phosphorus product. That product damages your vascular system by constricting your arteries and causing high blood pressure.
Additional symptoms of vitamin D toxicity range from heart problems to mental confusion. High levels of calcium can increase thirst and the need to urinate. They may also cause constipation.
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.
Help Prevent Bone Diseases Such As Osteoporosis
Its clear that vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium. Without enough vitamin D in the body, there will not be enough of calcium’s active form, the hormone calcitriol, according to the National Institutes of Health . Calcium absorption allows the body to maintain a sufficient level of that element as well as phosphate, both of which promote the growth and maintenance of healthy, strong bones.
Thats why getting enough vitamin D is critical for warding off bone diseases, such as rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults, and osteoporosis in the elderly.
Rickets is a rare disease in the United States. It is marked by soft and weak bones in children and is typically associated with developing countries, but an inadequate vitamin D level from lack of sun exposure or diet can affect children anywhere in the world, research shows. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of rickets include pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs, as well as delayed growth and muscle weakness.
Meanwhile, osteomalacia refers to softening of the bones due to vitamin D deficiency. Its signs include dull, aching pain in the legs, hips, pelvis, ribs, and back, though the condition often doesnt present symptoms in its early stages, the Mayo Clinic notes.
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What Does Vitamin D Do For My Body
Did you know that vitamin D is actually considered a pro-hormone and not a vitamin? It is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, giving it the nickname, sunshine vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired through the diet or supplements.
It is estimated that sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D. Recent studies have suggested that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
So what are some of the health benefits of vitamin D?
- Healthy bones: Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys.
- Vitamin D deficiency in children is call rickets, a disease characterized by a severely bow-legged appearance and softening of the bones.
- Vitamin D deficiency in adults is called osteoporosis.
Vitamin D Role In Human Body
The term vitamin D is defined as a group of compounds that are cholesterol derivatives with a similar chemical structure. It is produced in the human body and passes through many stages of synthesis. Vitamin D affects our body through the immune, muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. It is very important to maintain normal levels of vitamin D in the blood and supplement it in the case of shortfalls. The human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. A person can also boost their vitamin D intake through certain foods or supplements. Vitamin D Role is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.
- Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body. It assists in,
- Promoting healthy bones and teeth.
- Supporting immune, brain, and nervous system health.
- Regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management.
- Supporting lung function and cardiovascular health.
- Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development.
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Don’t Let Your Vitamin D Absorption Slip Away
Figuring out all the factors that can affect a person’s vitamin D levels is complicated. You can get the vitamin from food and by taking supplements .
But vitamin D is also produced by the body in a complex process that starts when rays in the invisible ultraviolet B part of the light spectrum are absorbed by the skin. The liver, and then the kidneys, are involved in the steps that eventually result in a bioavailable form of the vitamin that the body can use.
Here are nine factors that can influence a person’s vitamin D level:
1. The latitude where you live. At higher latitudes, the amount of vitamin Dproducing UVB light reaching the earth’s surface goes down in the winter because of the low angle of the sun. In Boston, for example, little if any of the vitamin is produced in people’s skin tissue from November through February. Short days and clothing that covers legs and arms also limit UVB exposure.
2. The air pollution where you live. Carbon particulates in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays. Ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so holes in the ozone layer could be a pollution problem that winds up enhancing vitamin D levels.
5. The temperature of your skin. Warm skin is a more efficient producer of vitamin D than cool skin. So, on a sunny, hot summer day, you’ll make more vitamin D than on a cool one.
What Other Drugs Will Affect Cholecalciferol
Certain medications can make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin D. If you take other medications, take them at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take cholecalciferol.
Other drugs may affect cholecalciferol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
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So What Exactly Does Vitamin D Do
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and for good reason. Its necessary for a wide array of your bodys functions. Vitamin D helps support the health of your:
- Heart, and
- Immune system2
A lack of vitamin D may also play a role in your bodys inflammatory processes. Now, keep in mind, inflammation is your bodys response to perceived threats. But chronic inflammation can actually lead to the development of serious health problems.3
Vitamin D is also famous for its partnership with calcium. Now, youre probably well aware that calcium is absolutely necessary for maintaining strong bones and preventing the onset of osteoporosis.4 Vitamin D works with calcium in a couple ways:
1. It allows your intestine to absorb calcium from dietary sources,
2. It helps your bones maintain a steady amount of calcium.5
Between September And April
In the warmer months leading up to, during and after summer, exposing yourself to gentle early morning or late afternoon sunlight is recommended.
- As little as 68 minutes of sun exposure may be enough to produce 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
- A daily walk or some other form of outdoor physical activity in the early morning or late afternoon, with your face, arms and hands exposed, could achieve this.
- Between 10am and 4pm the sun is too harsh and you should use sun protection: stay in the shade, cover your arms and legs, wear sunglasses and a hat that shades your face and neck and use sunscreen
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The Takeaway On Vitamin D And Your Health
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can help fortify bones and keep them strong while also potentially lowering the risk of cancer and death from cancer for some individuals. But its other effects needs to be further investigated before scientists, doctors, and everyone else can make informed decisions about supplementing or upping dietary intake of the vitamin.
Until then, take steps to get your recommended daily amount of the nutrient through food, supplements, and sunlight . If you suspect that you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor about getting a blood test to check if your level is adequate.
Additional reporting by Melinda Carstensen.
What Happens If I Don’t Have Enough Vitamin D
Moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in infants and children.
Low vitamin D levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the risk of falls and fractures if you are over 50. Osteoporosis occurs when your bones lose calcium and other minerals, making them fragile and more likely to break. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, so if you dont have enough, you can be at increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
People with very low levels of vitamin D are the most at risk of developing health problems.
A number of diseases have been linked to low vitamin D levels such as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer. Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis. However, Choosing Wisely Australia recommends that you do not need routine testing for vitamin D deficiency unless you are considered specifically at risk.
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Should Everyone Get Their Vitamin D Levels Checked Generally No
Karl Insogna, MD, director of Yale Medicines Bone Center
Most people should be fine. Testing is important only for certain populations: for people who are institutionalized for patients with a gastrointestinal disorder or osteoporosis those who have had weight loss surgery those on anti-convulsant medications and children who are immobilized and not outside and active. If youre over 70, I recommend getting your levels checked at least one time.
People whose cultural or religious beliefs require them to be fully clothed, especially if theyre living in northern climates, and whose dietary habits include little or no dairy , may also be vitamin D-deficient and should be tested.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need
The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. The recommended amounts, in international units , are
- Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
- Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
- Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
- Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
- Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU
People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may need more. Check with your health care provider about how much you need.
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How Should I Take Ergocalciferol
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use only the recommended dose of ergocalciferol.
It may be best to take ergocalciferol after a meal, but you may take Vitamin D2 with or without food.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .
You will need frequent medical tests.
Your doctor may begin to reduce your ergocalciferol dose as your condition improves. Carefully follow all instructions about adjusting your dose. In some cases, there may be a very small difference in amount between safe and dangerous doses of this medicine.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.
Ergocalciferol 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 ergocalciferol dose may need to be adjusted as you make changes to your diet.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Muscle Problems That Are Thought To Be Caused By Statins
Its possible that muscle aches and pains that are often thought to be caused by statins are actually caused by a lack of vitamin D. Too little vitamin D can cause muscle weakness and tenderness in the bones these muscle problems seem very similar to the ones linked to statins.
Because a lack of vitamin D is so common, its likely that many people who are taking statins dont have enough vitamin D.
Your doctor can check if you have enough vitamin D in your blood using a simple blood test.
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How Are Walking Abnormalities Diagnosed
During a physical examination, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and observe the way you walk. They may perform tests to check your nerve or muscle function. This will help determine whether theres a structural problem causing your condition.
Your doctor may also order an imaging test, such as an X-ray, to check for fractures or broken bones. This is typically done if youve recently had an injury or fall. A more in-depth imaging test, such as an MRI, can check for torn tendons and ligaments.
How Vitamin D Deficiency Affects The Body
Of the 13 essential vitamins, vitamin D might be one of the most unique.
Its one of the few vitamins your body can produce itself. Well, almost by itself. It needs a little help from the sun hence why its often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. You can also get vitamin D through your diet.
But when you arent making or getting enough of it, you might feel the effects of low vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has become increasingly common over the last decade or so. And this is concerning since a deficiency in vitamin D can have lasting effects on a persons health and wellness, says Dr. Donald Brown, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist.
Left untreated, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults, rickets in children and adverse outcomes in pregnant women. It may also be linked to heart disease, diabetes and cancer although more study is needed on the topic.
And while a little bit of sunshine may sound like the simple answer to making sure youre getting enough vitamin D every day, be warned. Its a bit more complicated than that.
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How Can I Get More Vitamin D
There are a few foods that naturally have some vitamin D:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods. You can check the food labels to find out whether a food has vitamin D. Foods that often have added vitamin D include
- Other dairy products, such as yogurt
- Soy drinks
Vitamin D is in many multivitamins. There are also vitamin D supplements, both in pills and a liquid for babies.
If you have vitamin D deficiency, the treatment is with supplements. Check with your health care provider about how much you need to take, how often you need to take it, and how long you need to take it.
Vegan Vitamin D Capsules
Capsules are what most people imagine of when thinking of vitamin supplements. Alas, many vitamin D tablets and capsules contain a non-vegan source of vitamin D3, such as sheep lanolin or fish oils.
Dont worry though, we have a solution! Our Mushroom Vegan Vitamin D Capsules contain 25µg of vitamin D2 in each capsule and you only have to take one a day.
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What Does Your Diet Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D doesnt occur naturally in many foods. Thats why certain foods have added vitamin D. In fact, newer food nutrition labels show the amount of vitamin D contained in a particular food item.
It may be difficult, especially for vegans or people who are lactose-intolerant, to get enough vitamin D from their diets, which is why some people may choose to take supplements. It is always important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. The vitamin content of various foods is shown in the following table.
Vitamin D content of various foods
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6|
It is important to check product labels, as the amount of added vitamin D varies when it is artificially added to products such as orange juice, yogurt and margarine.