How To Eat To Support Supplementation
Supplements are intended to do what their name implies: supplement your diet. Supplements shouldnt take the place of eating healthy foods, so taking them is not an excuse to avoid eating things like veggies, fruit and fish even the best supplements!
Even if you do regularly take high-quality supplements, you should still make an effort to eat nutrient-dense foods every day. Some of the best foods for providing essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more include:
How Does Sunlight Give Us Vitamin D
When we get sunlight on our skin, our body produces a substance called cholecalciferol.
This is then turned into calcidiol and then calcitriol by the liver and kidneys.
Calcitriol is what your Doctor would measure to assess your Vitamin D levels.
There are three ways to get enough Vitamin D:
During sunny months, your body might make excess calcidiol. But it will not go to waste. Any extra will be stored in your body fat as a kind of back up for those grey winter days.
Experts think that just 10 minutes of sunlight on your skin is enough to avoid Vitamin D deficiency. So get outside when you can!
What Is Vitamin D And Why Is It Important
Vitamin D belongs to the family of fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are absorbed well with fat and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.
There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet:
- Vitamin D2 : Found in plant foods like mushrooms.
- Vitamin D3 : Found in animal foods like salmon, cod and egg yolks.
However, sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D3. The UV rays from sunlight convert cholesterol in your skin into vitamin D3 .
Before your body can use dietary vitamin D, it must be activated through a series of steps .
First, the liver converts dietary vitamin D into the storage form of vitamin D. This is the form that is measured in blood tests. Later, the storage form is converted by the kidneys to the active form of vitamin D thats used by the body .
Interestingly, D3 is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D as vitamin D2 .
The main role of vitamin D in the body is to manage blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are important for healthy bones .
Research also shows that vitamin D aids your immune system and may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers .
A low blood level of vitamin D is linked to a greater risk of fractures and falls, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, several cancers and even death (
For instance, an analysis of five studies examined the link between vitamin D blood levels and colorectal cancer .
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Thorne Research Vitamin D
On the surface, Thorne Research Vitamin D-1000 looks pretty standard. Its a vegetarian cellulose-based vitamin D supplement that delivers 1000 IU per day.
However, its got one interesting and unusual ingredient: the amino acid leucine.
The choice of this particular amino acid might seem a bit puzzling at first, but Thorne Research might be ahead of the curve: a 2015 study on elderly patients found that adding leucine to the vitamin D supplementation regimen of people at risk for sarcopeniathe loss of muscle mass associated with agingfound that leucine helped prevent this muscle loss .
Its not clear how or why this works, but it might be a good idea to go for Thorne Researchs vitamin D offering if you are getting older and want to think about your muscle mass retention.
Best Vitamin D3 With Organic Olive Oil: Naturewise Vitamin D3 Bone Muscle And Immune Support
Naturewise Vitamin D3 contains cold-pressed organic olive oil which ensures better absorption of the vitamin. It helps support a healthy mood, a strong immune system, and boost heart health.
About Naturewise Vitamin D3 Bone, Muscle, and Immune Support
The daily adult dose of Vitamin D is 5000 IU as per the recommended dosage by the Vitamin D council. It is available in three forms such as a tablet, powdered, and liquid softgel. The product is free of all the 8 allergens that are recognized by the FDA. This non-GMO supplement has no artificial colors or flavors. Its purity and potency are third parties tested.
What it Contains:
Each Naturewise Vit D3 offers you:
- Vitamin D3 125mcg/5000 IU
The product also contains the goodness of olive oil. Other ingredients include gelatin, glycerin, and purified water.
It is better to take the advice of your physician or health care provider before taking the product. The presence of gelatin makes it incompatible for vegetarians and vegans. Liquid softgel form is found to be more bioavailable.
The daily dose of an adult is 1 capsule and the bottle contains 360 liquid softgels. You can get a one year supply with each bottle you buy.
- 5000 IU of highly bioavailable vitamin D
- Assured standard quality and safety of the product
- Free of wheat, tree nuts, eggs, and fish.
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Garden Of Life Organic Vitamin C Spray
Garden of Life vitamin C spray is made from a variety of 100% organic, whole foods like strawberries, blueberries, and tart cherries.
Youll receive a 60-mg dose of vitamin C in every 5 sprays, and it doesnt contain any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It comes in two flavors and is suitable for adults and children over 4 years old.
The vitamin C dose in this product is lower than many traditional supplements, making it a great option for anyone who eats a variety of vitamin-Ccontaining foods but still needs some extra help filling in potential nutrient gaps.
All Garden of Life products are third-partytested for quality and purity, and they operate FDA-certified manufacturing facilities.
Swanson Vitamin C Powder contains nothing but 100% pure, powdered vitamin C.
It dissolves easily into almost any liquid, and you dont have to worry about any added fillers, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Each scoop provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C, but you can tailor the serving size to fit your needs.
When it comes to purity and quality, Swanson holds themselves to exceptionally high standards.
All of their supplements undergo in-house and third-party testing, so you can rest assured youre getting a great product every time.
Benefits Of Vitamin D Supplements
Researchers have been studying vitamin D and its effects on the body and have gathered some pretty impressive findings. Here are some benefits of getting enough vitamin D.
- Stronger bones: You know that calcium is important for your bones, but eating all that calcium won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t have enough vitamin D it helps your body absorb the calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong.
- Healthy immune system: According to April 2020 research published in Nutrients, vitamin D works with the immune system by helping to increase antimicrobial activity, reduce pro-inflammatory molecules and release ones that fight inflammation. In addition, vitamin D may help enhance glutathione production, a natural antioxidant in the body.
- Defending against cancer: There’s no evidence to support the use of supplements to prevent cancer. However, according to Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health, your outcome may be better if you develop cancer and you have adequate levels of vitamin D already. In other words, vitamin D may have an effect on cancer progression, giving you a better chance at beating it.
Symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency
- Mood changes
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What Is A Low Vitamin D Level
There is a bit of controversy regarding what is considered a low vitamin D level between different expert organizations. A vitamin D level measures levels of 25D in the blood .
Most experts recommend:
- Levels of 20-50 nanograms/milliliter of 25D: Sufficient
- Levels of 12-19 ng/ml: Borderline
- Levels of less than 12 ng/ml: Deficient
However, not everybody agrees, and some organizations suggest different cut-off values.
The Institute of Medicine states:
- Levels above 20 ng/ml: Sufficient
- Levels below 20 ng/ml: Deficient
Note that several members of the IOM committee publicly stated that over screening for vitamin D deficiency was a problem which typically resulted in unnecessary treatment. They were not in agreement with a cut-off level of 20 ng/ml for deficiency and recommended a lower level of 12.5 ng/ml.
The Endocrine Society states:
- Levels above 30 ng/ml: Sufficient however, some assays are inaccurate and levels of 40-60 ng/ml better guarantee sufficiency
- Levels of 21-29 ng/ml: Insufficient
- Levels below 20 ng/ml: Deficient
Talk to your doctor about what he/she considers to be a low vitamin D level.
Risks And Side Effects
Although there are many benefits associated with vitamin D, there are some vitamin D supplement side effects to consider as well.
For starters, taking very high doses over long periods of time can cause vitamin D toxicity, which can result in symptoms like drowsiness, stomach pain, vomiting and confusion. For this reason, its important to stick to the recommended dosage and use supplements only as directed. If you experience any negative side effects as a result of vitamin D supplementation, consider decreasing your intake and talking to a trusted health care professional.
If you have any underlying conditions, such as high levels of calcium, hyperparathyroidism or kidney disease, its best to talk to your doctor before starting supplementation. Vitamin D can increase calcium absorption, which could worsen issues related to these conditions. You may also want to consult with your doctor if you take medications such as diuretics, antacids, or heart medications like digoxin, diltiazem or verapamil.
Read Next: Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D?
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Food Sources Of Vitamin D
Unlike the other essential vitamins, there are not many foods that supply a sufficient amount of vitamin D to meet the daily requirements.
Along with sun exposure, however, you can increase your levels of vitamin D by eating food like cod liver oil egg yolks oily fish, including salmon, sardines, and herring fortified milk and other dairy products fortified orange juice and mushrooms grown in ultraviolet light.
Youll absorb your vitamin D supplement best if you take it along with a meal containing healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, lean meat, or eggs.
How Quickly Can You Make Vitamin D From The Sun
Production of vitamin D via our skin is efficient and represents an easy, reliable way for most people to get enough vitamin D.
Of course, how long you need to stay in the sun for depends on your age, skin type and color, the season, and the time of the day but for most people, 10 minutes of summer skin on exposed skin, without sunblock, is considered sufficient.
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What Is Considered A Supplement
According to the National Institute of Health, dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products. Today, more supplements than ever before in history are available in health food stores, drug stores, pharmacies and online in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, tinctures, powders, gummies, drinks and more.
Some of the most widely consumed supplements include multivitamins vitamins D and E minerals like calcium and iron herbs, such as turmeric, echinacea and garlic glucosamine probiotics omega-3 fish oils and protein powders.
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 Type Of Vitamin D Is Best For Children
The government recommends a supplement of at least 10µg of vitamin D for children over the age of 1 and 8.5-10µg for babies under 1 year old.15
But getting children to take a supplement in tablet or capsule form is easier said than done we get it! Thankfully, there are some child-friendly supplements out there.
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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Who Should Be Screened For Vitamin D Deficiency
Most experts are against routine screening for vitamin D deficiency. This is because:
- Vitamin D testing is considerably more expensive than supplements
- No clear cut-off point for deficiency has been agreed upon
- Routine screening can lead to overtreatment of perceived vitamin D deficiency.
Most experts recommend that babies, children, and adults who are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency should be prescribed supplements without testing for deficiency, even if they dont have any symptoms.
Testing may be appropriate in people who are suspected of having severe vitamin D deficiency. In these cases, blood levels of calcium, phosphate, and alkaline phosphatase kidney function and other tests should be investigated as well.
Vitamin D testing is appropriate for people with:
- low calcium or phosphate levels or an unexplained increase in serum alkaline phosphatase
- atypical osteoporosis
- unexplained limb pain near a joint in older people
- unusual fractures, unexplained bone pain, or other symptoms suggesting metabolic bone disease.
Some people may need a referral to a specialist if it is discovered that they have a metabolic bone disease rather than a simple vitamin D deficiency.
Natural Vitamin D Supplements
Since most of us are vitamin D deficient, it is in our best interest to find a natural vitamin D supplement.
As I’ve said before, the best come directly from the sun.
But supplements are almost always necessary to get our vitamin D levels up high enough to reap the many health benefits. Why?
- Most of us spend too little time outdoors without sunscreen
- Most of us are in a geographic location where we can only make vitamin D during the summer months
The good news is that these supplements are becoming more readily available. But only one kind is considered natural.
There are two different types of vitamin D available in supplement form vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 .
Vitamin D2 is the type you’ll find in most multivitamins, prescriptions, most supplements, and vitamin D fortified foods. It is a patented drug that behaves like vitamin D, but it is not natural. It has been responsible for the vast majority of toxicity reports on vitamin D and should be avoided.
Along with increased risk of toxicity, it has been found to be less than half as effective as natural vitamin D3. It is also suspected of blocking some vitamin D health benefits.
Vitamin D3 is the naturally occurring form of vitamin D in your body and the one you should choose when supplementing.
The best kind is to buy is dry or in coconut oil. This is because most vitamin D supplements contain oils as stabilizers that are either unhealthy and/or have gone rancid.
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What Kind Of Vitamin D Is Best
The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. Supplements are made from the fat of lambs’ wool.
However, a clinical study reported in 2008 suggested that vitamin D2 works as well as vitamin D3.
Many supplements contain vitamin D as vitamin D2 or calciferol. It’s derived from irradiated fungus. Because this is not the form of vitamin D naturally made by your body, WebMD nutritionist Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, recommends using the D3 form for those taking vitamin D supplements.
Because of its potency, different forms of vitamin D are used in prescription medications. If you have a prescription for one of these medications, do not switch to another form of vitamin D without checking with your doctor.
Is Vitamin D Vegan
Vitamin D3 has historically been made from lanolin extracted from sheep wool, but recently, a vegan/vegetarian form has become available. This version is extracted from lichen and it is called Vitashine. This product is also sugar, wheat, gluten, and dairy-free.
Vitamin D2 supplements, made by irradiating mushrooms, are also vegan/vegetarian-friendly.
Studies have shown that D3 increases blood levels of vitamin D more significantly than D2.
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Best Supplements Vs Worst Supplements
I recommend avoiding all synthetic supplements and seeking out the higher-quality, whole food-based supplements. Check the ingredient label and skip supplements that contain ingredients like artificial coloring, titanium dioxide, soy lecithin, BHT, maltodextrin, talc, hydrogenated oils, high doses of caffeine or aconite.
Precautions When Taking Supplements:
Some supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong and/or negative effects on the body. Supplements are most likely to cause side effects when when they are taken in high doses, in combinations or with prescribed medicines. Remember that supplements are not drugs, and they shouldnt be used to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure diseases.
Some supplements can interact with prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems or make the drugs less effective. This means that you shouldnt take supplements in place of, or in combination with, prescribed medications without talking to your doctor first.
Be especially careful about taking new supplements if youre taking medications like blood thinners, antidepressants, birth control pills or chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer. Many supplements have not been well-tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers or children, so if this applies to you be extra cautious.