Vitamin D Supplementation On The Rise
Between 2006 and 2014, the number of people taking over 4,000 IUs daily rose from less than 0.5% to over 3%. That was according to a 2017 study in the Journal of American Medicine, which pulled data from 39,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The study also found that over the same period, those taking more than 1,000 IUs per day jumped from less than 1% to over 18%. This amount is not known to cause immediate health problems, but the findings indicate that more people than ever are seeking out extra vitamin D and may be at risk of overdoing it.
This doesn’t mean that no one should take a vitamin D supplement. Other than infants and those over 70 who likely require supplements, people should get their blood levels checked routinely to determine if supplements are advised.
Which Foods Contain Vitamin D
Some foods do contain vitamin D, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, egg yolks, red meat, liver and certain mushrooms that have been grown in sunlight or UV light.
Other foods are fortified with vitamin D such as some breakfast cereals, yoghurt drinks and fat-based spreads.
Still, it’s hard to get enough from food alone a salmon fillet contains around 13mcg vitamin D , boiled eggs only have 1.6mcg, and a bowl of fortified cereal around 2.5mcg.
What Does Vitamin D Do
Most people know that vitamin D is good for calcium absorption and bone health, but vitamin D is also important for many other vital bodily processes.
A lack of vitamin D has been associated with:
- An impairment in memory and thinking skills in older adults
- Bone, back, or muscle pain
- Severe asthma in children
- Skin wounds that take a long time to heal.
Research also suggests low vitamin D may be a factor in several other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis.
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People Who Should Not Opt In
You should not opt in to receive the vitamin D supplement if:
- you are already taking, or are prescribed, a vitamin D supplement by your GP or healthcare professional
- you are already taking, or are prescribed, a medication that contains vitamin D by your GP or healthcare professional
- you are under the age of 18
- you have a medical condition or treatment that means you may not be able to safely take as much vitamin D as the general population
If you are one of the following groups or have any of the following medical conditions, you should not opt in through this process and you should speak to your GP or healthcare professional at your next appointment. There are some groups who need to be particularly careful including those under the care of a renal, endocrinology or cancer specialist. This could include people with high vitamin D levels, kidney stones, too much parathyroid hormone, cancer , severe kidney disease and a rare illness calledsarcoidosis.
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.
What Is The Highest Vitamin D Available Over The Counter
Vitamin D supplements come in a variety of doses, and they are not regulated to adhere to a maximum dose. Youll generally see vitamin D supplements come in doses as high as 2,000 international units, or IU, per capsule or tablet. Be careful with the vitamin D supplement you choose, and discuss the dosage with your doctor first. Extremely high intakes can be dangerous, and labels arent always accurate.
Is Vitamin D Water Soluble
No, vitamin D is fat soluble. This means it is stored within our adipose tissue and small amounts can be mobilized if our daily intake temporarily falters. Other fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. Because it is fat soluble, vitamin D toxicity can occur if too much is taken.
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among obese people, because greater amounts of vitamin D are locked up in their adipose tissue , rather than in the blood where it can be used. Obese people are also less likely to eat foods naturally high in vitamin D or expose their skin to sunlight.
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What Foods Provide Vitamin D
The major sources of vitamin D are fortified foods. In Canada, cow’s milk and margarine must be fortified with vitamin D. Goat’s milk, fortified plant based beverages , and some calcium-fortified orange juices are permitted to be fortified with vitamin D. Cheese and yogurt can be made with vitamin D-fortified milk, however, the final product does not contain as much vitamin D as fluid milk alone. The only natural sources of vitamin D in the Canadian food supply are fatty fish and egg yolks.
Because it is a commonly-consumed food, fluid milk is a major dietary source of vitamin D.
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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Vitamin D Supplements: How To Take Them Safely
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Please read this document in full before you decide whether to opt in and before you start taking the vitamin D supplements that have been provided to you.
Does The Intake Of Other Fat
It has been hypothesized that two other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K and vitamin A, may play important roles in vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin K helps regulate where calcium ends up in the body, and high amounts of vitamin D may deplete the bodys stores of vitamin K (
Keep in mind that these are just hypotheses, but it may be wise to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients if you are going to supplement with vitamin D.
If you are supplementing with vitamin D, then it may be important to also ensure sufficient intake of vitamin A, vitamin K and magnesium. These may reduce the risk of adverse effects from a higher vitamin D intake.
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What Is Vitamin D 5000 Iu
Vitamin D is a nutrient essential for calcium level regulation, strong bones, and healthy immune function.
There are two ways people can get vitamin D: sun exposure and diet . You get most of your vitamin D from sun exposure. The rest comes from the diet. Most people need about 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day through their diet .
Vitamin D 5000 IU is a high-dose supplement that can help treat vitamin D deficiency, which occurs when people dont get enough vitamin D through the sun or their diet.
This happens quite frequently: people who live in northern climates or those who spend most of their time indoors often dont get enough exposure to sunlight. Whats more, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D .
The vitamin D 5000 IU supplements you see in your local drugstore typically contain vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D that is naturally found in fatty fish. Vitamin D2, the other form, is derived from plant sources. Youre more likely to see D3 in supplements, as research has shown that D3 is more effective than D2 in raising vitamin D levels .
How Can I Know If I Am Vitamin D3 Deficient
Since there are two kinds of vitamin D, you need to have a blood test for both to know what dosage of vitamin D3 is appropriate for you. If you have low levels of vitamin D3, the storage form of the vitamin, then you definitely need to take more vitamin D3, up to 5,000 IU per day for up to two weeks, and then 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day as a maintenance dose thereafter. This is what is needed if the problem is not getting enough sun.
If you body has a problem converting vitamin D3 to D2, however, and your levels of D3 are high but your levels of D2 are low, then you need to speak with a nutritionally oriented doctor or a nutrition specialist about the full range of supplements that will help your body use its daily dosage of vitamin D3 effectively in making the active form of the vitamin, D2. Be sure you have both tests to make sure you are getting all the vitamin D you really need.
Laaksi I, Ruohola JP, Mattila V, Auvinen A, Ylikomi T, PihlajamÃ¤ki H. Vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection: a randomized, double-blinded trial among young Finnish men. J. Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 1 202:809-14.
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Am I Taking Too Much Vitamin D
Even though taking vitamin D has many health benefits, its possible to take too much. Vitamin D toxicity, or hypervitaminosis D, can cause a buildup of calcium in the blood and result in bone pain, nausea, vomiting, or kidney problems.
Here is a list of the more common side effects that someone might experience from taking too much vitamin D:
Some medications may interact with vitamin D. Steroids may interfere with how the body metabolizes the vitamin. The cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine and weight-loss drug orlistat can hinder the bodys ability to absorb vitamin D. Some medications can also increase vitamin D levels.
Risks And Side Effects
What happens if you take too much vitamin D? Can you overdose on vitamin D?
Taking high doses of vitamin D causes your liver to produce a chemical called 25D, which makes calcium accumulate in your bloodstream. Youre most likely to experience symptoms of too much vitamin D when taking supplements in high doses for a long period of time. This can potentially cause side effects if levels of 25 in the blood become elevated.
Potential side effects can include high blood calcium levels exhaustion abdominal pain and digestive issues like nausea, constipation, diarrhea or loss of appetite increased thirst and dry mouth and possibly kidney stones. The best way to avoid experiencing vitamin D toxicity is to not take very high doses of vitamin D in supplement form, such as 10,000 IU per day for more than several days in a row. Instead, get the vitamin D you need from sunlight, a healthy diet and supplements in the recommended dosage range.
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How Do I Know If I Have Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is measured with a blood test that measures 25D. This is the form of D3 that has undergone conversion by the liver although it is still inactive and requires further conversion by the kidneys to active vitamin D3, 1,25D.
The reason 25D is measured is because it is the most stable form of D3. It is also the most abundant form and lasts several weeks in the body. It is a good representation of how much vitamin D has been obtained from both diet and sun exposure.
Conversely, 1,25D only lasts for a few hours in the body and levels are a thousand-fold less than those of 25D. Our body also has a way of increasing the production of active D3 by the kidneys during times of deficiency and insufficiency, so a blood test for 1,25D may appear normal or elevated even when your actual levels of vitamin D are low. However, in some disorders of calcium metabolism, the 1,25D test may be used.
25D levels will tell your doctor if you are deficient in vitamin D, borderline, sufficient, or vitamin D toxic.
See the flow chart above for an overview of the different forms of vitamin d.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
Despite widespread assertions in the popular and scientific press that many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, the term “deficiency” isn’t strictly accurate. The official definition of a vitamin deficiency means that specific health problems stem solely from the lack of a specific nutrient. An actual vitamin D deficiency results in bone disease, such as rickets, which is rare in the United States.
On the other hand, lower-than-optimal levels of specific vitamins, including vitamin D, may increase your risk of numerous health problems, even though they are not solely responsible for these problems. “Insufficiency” may be a better term for these lower levels than “vitamin D deficiency”.
So far, the most clearly established benefit of vitamin D is that it helps the body absorb calcium and therefore promotes healthy bones. However, a steady drumbeat of studies beginning in the 1980s started to build a case that low blood levels of D were connected with a variety of chronic health problems, leading to claims by a number of researchers that the RDA for D was way too low. The confusion and controversy surrounding optimal vitamin D intake and blood values prompted the U.S. and Canadian governments to request that the Institute of Medicine review the evidence on vitamin D and calcium and update the DRIs.
To learn more about the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, read Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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Vitamin D Dosing Considerations In Covid
William Simonson PharmD, BCGP, FASCP
I commonly share my bi-monthly pharmacy columns with friends and colleagues after I submit them to Geriatric Nursing for publication. The most recent article, which appeared in the May/June, 2020 issue reviewed the role of Vitamin D in COVID-19 infections, generated a number of questions about the vitamin, especially with respect to dosing. I decided to address some of these questions in this issue’s column. As always, space limitation prevents an in-depth review so the reader is referred to a Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals for those who would like more detailed information as well as the other references that I cite below.,, , , , ,
Vitamin D3 Dosage For Healthy Adults
Much of the latest research about vitamin D3 comes from Finland, which lies in near or above the Arctic circle and where summer’s midnight sun is followed by winter’s noontime darkness. Finns who do not eat large quantities of foods that are rich in D3, such as butter and oily fish, tend to have winter-time D3 deficiencies.
Correcting a deficiency in healthy adults is not hard to do. Clinical studies have shown that taking just 400 IU of D3 a day – about twice the recommended dosage for D3 – is enough to boost the immune system so colds and flu are less frequent.
Bone health in children, teens, and adults under 50 may also require just 400 IU of vitamin D a day, along with several servings of leafy green vegetables every week to provide vitamin K. Vitamin K is an important, and frequently overlooked, co-factor for vitamin D.
If you don’t get your leafy greens, then you need to take a vitamin K supplement. If you happen to take a “blood thinning” drug for cardiovascular disease or recovery from frostbite, your doctor will advise you when it is safe to take vitamin K, which can cancel out the effects of anti-clotting medications.
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Men Or Women At Risk For Fracture Or Osteoporosis
1,200 mg calcium and 2040 mcg of vitamin D
There is evidence of risks of taking too much calcium through supplements. However, postmenopausal women at increased risk for fractures or osteoporosis need more calcium and vitamin D. If a woman with these characteristics is meeting her RDA through food, it is best that she not add a calcium supplement. If she does not eat dairy, she may need a supplement. If she has a balanced diet, she may only need an additional 500 mg of calcium.