If You Take Any Group Of Patients With Almost Any Disease Their Vitamin D Levels Will Be Lower Than In A Healthy Individual Ian Reid
Ian Reid, professor in medicine at the University of Auckland, believes that diseases cause low vitamin D levels, as being unwell often leads to spending less time outdoors exposed to sunlight, rather than vice versa. If you take any group of patients with almost any disease, their vitamin D levels will be lower than in a healthy individual. This has led some to hypothesise its low vitamin D developing the disease, but theres no evidence to prove it, he says.
Some experts believe people who are unwell have low vitamin D levels because they spend less time outdoors, not that their low levels cause health problems
Researchers have found that higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer it plays a role in stemming the formation of new blood vessels and stimulating better communication between cells. Vitamin D also has been found to help maintain normal levels of calcium in the colon, which slows growth of non-cancerous but high-risk cells.
Other studies, including of the link between vitamin D and liver cancer,breast cancer and prostate cancer, suggest there is good reason to think that low vitamin D plays a part in the spread of cancer cells. But taking supplements would then, surely, help stave off cancer and a recent meta-analysis failed to find that supplementation reduced cancer risk.
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Healthy Foods That Are High In Vitamin D
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Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight.
However, up to 50% of the worlds population may not get enough sun, and 40% of U.S. residents are deficient in vitamin D .
This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside, and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.
The recommended daily value is 800 IU of vitamin D per day from foods .
If you dont get enough sunlight, your intake should likely be closer to 1,000 IU per day (
Why Is Vitamin D So Important
Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:
- Keeping bones strong: Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
- Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
- Working with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will borrow calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.
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How To Choose The Best Vitamin D Supplement
As with all supplements, not every bottle of vitamin D is created equal. The good news is that finding a high-quality supplement doesnt have to be hugely complicated. Some factors to keep in mind while you shop:
- Choose vitamin D3, if you can. If you see vitamins D2 and D3 on the store shelf, go with the latter. Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 increase levels of the vitamin in the blood, but D3 might lead to a greater and longer increase than D2, explains Jinan Banna, R.D., Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of Hawaii at Mnoa.
- Dont go dose crazy. More isnt always better, and very high amounts can actually be toxic. Most people do well between 800 and 2,000 IU daily, Dr. Levitan says. Your doctor can help you decide the right amount for you based on a current blood test.
- Consider the delivery method. One study foundthat vitamin D in gummy form may be more absorbent than capsules or tablets. Another study concluded that liposomal vitamin Dthe kind delivered with certain lipidscan also enhance absorption. But if youd rather just take a pill, youll still benefit, Largeman-Roth says.
- Look for trusted verifications. Choose products that have been verified by independent certifiers, like the US Pharmacopeial Convention or NSF International, all three experts say. Either verification ensures that youre getting the amount of D listed on the product label, without a side of unwanted ingredients or additives.
Health Effects Of Too Much Vitamin D
As good as Vitamin D is for you, it is possible to have too much of it. For example, you can experience Vitamin D toxicity if you take too much through supplements. “Vitamin D is in a group of vitamins, which are fat-soluble, unlike the more common vitamins like C and B, which are water-soluble,” says Cutler.
If you take too many water-soluble vitamins, they’ll go through your kidneys and be flushed out through urination. However, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D can get absorbed into your body’s fatty tissue, liver, and even the brain, according to Cutler. So, your body has a harder time removing excess amounts. That’s why it’s important not to overdose on any fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin D.
Signs of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, weakness, confusion, and even kidney damage. Cutler says that this really only can happen from taking too many supplements. According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended amount of vitamin D for children and adults is 600 IU. A toxic level is around 4,000 IU. Your body will not produce toxic amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure.
Additionally, while some people believe vitamin D has anti-cancer properties, the opposite can be true. A study, published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2019, found a link between high levels of vitamin D with higher incidences of skin, prostate, and blood cancers, but a lower incidence of lung cancer.
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How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated
The goals of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. While you might consider eating more foods that contain vitamin D and getting a little bit of sunlight, you will likely be told to take vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2, also called ergocalciferol, comes from plants. D3, also called cholecalciferol, comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. It is more easily absorbed than D2 and lasts longer in the body dose-for-dose. Work with your doctor to find out if you need to take a vitamin supplement and how much to take if it is needed.
Why Should I Be Getting The D
The sun doesnt shine all the time, and its possible you dont always get enough vitamin D from food. If you live in a place where it rains, sleets, and snows, its not always possible to get enough vitamin D from the sun.
Certain individuals and populations are also at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, including:
- older adults
- people with higher body weight
- people in nursing homes or hospitals
- people with higher skin melanin
Another challenge: Your body needs UVB radiation in order to absorb sunlight and convert it to usable vitamin D3. UV radiation is considered a carcinogen and is one of the biggest reasons for skin cancer. Using sunscreen blocks UV exposure, which reduces your risk of cancer but also blocks some vitamin D-producing UV rays.
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One Study Estimates That Around 20% Of The Population In The Uk Has A Profound Vitamin D Deficiency
Few doubt the role that vitamin D plays in our bone health to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body, which is why those who have a vitamin D deficiency are particularly encouraged to address it. And that may be more people than you think: one study estimates that around 20% of the population in the UK has a profound vitamin D deficiency, for example.
A third of UK adults who supplement their diet with vitamins take vitamin D
But some experts say that people with healthy levels have no need of vitamin D supplements which would be most people. In other words, they argue that in healthy people, vitamin D is not, as some have hoped, a way to prevent disease.
So whats the reality?
Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin. Instead, it is a hormone that promotes the absorption of calcium in the body. The challenge is that, aside from a few foods like oily fish, vitamin D is hard to find in the average diet. But in the presence of “ultraviolet B” rays, our skin can produce its own from a common cholesterol.
Vitamin D is found in only a few foods, like oily fish
There are two main types of D. The first is vitamin D3, which is found in animals including fish and is the kind the skin makes when exposed to sunlight. The second is vitamin D2, which comes from plant-based foods including mushrooms. Studies have found that D3 is more effective, and the conclusions of a 2012 meta-analysis argue that D3 is the preferred choice for supplementation.
What Is Vitamin D3
Looking to get more of the sunshine vitamin benefits? Not getting enough sun? Not eating enough vitamin D-rich foods? Think you can stand to get a little bit more to support your health?
Very good! Vitamin D is essential to your overall health and making sure you get enough is paramount to your well-being. Before you get started, it is important to know that there are different types of vitamin D: vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.
Vitamin D3, also known by its other alias cholecalciferol, is vitamin D in its natural formthe kind produced in your body as it absorbs sunlight. However, recent studies are beginning to find that vitamin D2 may be as effective as vitamin D3.
Whichever form of vitamin D you choose to take, make sure you get enough so you can enjoy healthy teeth and bones while protecting yourself from disease.
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Q: Do Some People Naturally Have Lower Vitamin D Levels Than Others
A: People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have lower levels, as do people who use sunscreen, dont spend much time outdoors, or are overweight or obese. This is because vitamin D is fat soluble, so it gets trapped in fatty tissue and cant be used by the body as it should be. Gastrointestinal surgery, like gastric bypass, makes it difficult to absorb vitamin D. And as we age, we dont absorb vitamin D well, and we produce less.
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Other Ways To Get Vitamin D
If youre not ready to hop on the supplement train, youre able to get in vitamin D through food and sunshine . There arent many foods that naturally contain vitamin D, but the National Institute of Health stating fatty fish and fish oils are among the best sources. The top 3 food sources include:
- Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1360 IU
- Rainbow trout, 3 ounces: 645 IU
- Sockeye salmon, 3 ounces: 570 IU
Your skin also absorbs UV rays from the sun and coverts it into vitamin D. The amount you get is all dependent on time of day, cloud coverage, skin melanin, and sunscreen. Some researchers claim getting outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for about 5 to 30 minutes twice per week will lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis.
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Health Effects Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to several negative outcomes. Certain groups of people, such as people with dark skin, obese people, and elderly people, should be especially careful in making sure they get enough of the vitamin since they’re more predisposed to Vitamin D deficiency.
According to Cutler, lack of exposure to the sun is one of the main causes of Vitamin D deficiency. A study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health in 2008, showed that Vitamin D supplementation is necessary to maintain good health when living in a northern latitude that has very short daylight hours in the winter.
Additionally, having dark skin can be a risk factor. “If you have very dark skin, you’ll tend not to absorb as much sunlight, which is what converts vitamin D from its inactive to its active form,” says Cutler. Other risk factors are old age, obesity, and people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, according to the National Institute of Health.
Designs For Health Hi
The Designs for Health website says that this supplement is highly concentrated and bioavailable, meaning that it is easy for the body to absorb. It contains 2,000 IU of vitamin D in each drop, and the drops quickly disperse in liquid.
A person can add this product to drinks or put it on their tongue. However, because it is high strength, it is important not to take too much. A doctor can advise on the right amount to take.
All Designs for Health facilities have one or more certifications from organizations such as the Natural Products Association, which enforces strict quality standards for supplements.
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Best Chewable: Now Chewable Vitamin D3 5000 Iu
If you have trouble swallowing supplements, this option from NOW comes in a tasty chewable form with a natural mint flavor. To address most people’s high vitamin D needs given lack of sun exposure and limited food sources high in the nutrient, this supplement provides 5,000 IU of D3. Some folks have GI considerations with sugar alcohols, so we’ll mention that those are in this formula, just in case.
Good Sources Of Vitamin D
From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.
But between October and early March we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight. Read more about vitamin D and sunlight.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
- fortified foods such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.
In the UK, cows’ milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries.
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Can Medications Cause A Vitamin D Deficiency
Yes. Vitamin D levels can be lowered by certain medications. These include:
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs .
- Seizure-control drugs .
- A tuberculosis drug .
- A weight-loss drug .
Always tell your doctor about the drugs you take and any vitamin D supplements or other supplements or herbs/alternative health products that you take.
Are You At Risk For These Common Nutrient Deficiencies
Yet very few foods have enough vitamin D to reach recommended daily intakes, and sunshine can be unreliable in certain climates. Men and women relying on sourcing vitamin D through diet alone typically dont exceed 288 IU a day on average. Even drinking an 8-ounce glass of milk will only get you 100 IU one-sixth the amount that many adults need daily.
But when supplements are added, they get closer to the 600 IU goal. Consider this: Women between ages 51 and 70, who averaged 156 IU through the diet-only approach, reached 404 IU with the help of supplements.
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Vitamin D And Your Health
Vitamin D, nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because your body produces it after sun exposure, has long been known to help build strong bones by increasing the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous. But beginning in 2000, research into vitamin D’s role in other health conditions began to expand rapidly.
While there is strong support for vitamin D’s role in bone health, the evidence that it prevents other health conditions is not yet conclusive, says Dr. Manson. “Research on vitamin D and calcium supplementation has been mixed and, especially when it comes to randomized clinical trials, has been generally disappointing to date,” she says.
Dr. Manson was a principal investigator of the recently published Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial , a large study . The study found that those taking a vitamin D supplement did not lower rates of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. However, among people who later developed cancer, those who took vitamin D supplements for at least two years had a 25% lower chance of dying from their cancer compared with those who received a placebo.