What Is The Difference Between Vitamin D
There are two forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D-2 or ergocalciferol and vitamin D-3, cholecalciferol. Both forms are biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver which converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D , also known as calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D , also known as calcitriol.
There are a limited number of foods that are sources of these compounds. Vitamin D-2 is found mostly in mushrooms and fortified foods such as cereal. Vitamin D-3 is found primarily in animal-based foods such as fish, liver, eggs and America’s old favorite, cod-liver oil.
While both versions are effective in increasing vitamin D concentration in the body, vitamin D-3 is thought by many to be more effective in raising vitamin D levels. It is widely available as an inexpensive over-the-counter supplement in a variety of dosage forms and dosages.
Should Elderly Persons Take A Vitamin D Supplement
To answer this question, we need to reflect on what is probably the most important principal of drug therapy which is, the possible risks of therapy must outweigh its possible benefits.
In the case of vitamin D this risk/benefit ratio is skewed far in favor of benefits. Vitamin D has many therapeutic benefits ranging from maintaining bone metabolism and strength to reducing the prevalence of colon cancer.
Toxicity can include non-specific symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, polyuria and heart arrhythmias. The primary toxicity concern is elevated serum calcium concentration which can lead to vascular and tissue calcification with subsequent damage to kidneys, blood vessels and the heart. Risks are minimal, especially at recommended doses and most reports suggest a toxicity threshold for vitamin D of 10,000 to 40,000 International Units per day and serum concentrations of 200-240 ng/mL. for that severe toxicity to occur. Those doses and concentrations are not recommended but highlight the fact that at more reasonable doses and concentrations discussed below toxicity is not a big concern for most patients.
So, with possible benefits being great, and possible risk minimal, many elderly people are appropriate candidates for vitamin D supplementation.
Babies Need A Vitamin D Boost
Because a typical mothers breast milk does not give her baby enough vitamin D, breastfed babies need vitamin D supplementation. Either the baby can be given drops of 400 IU a day directly or the mother can take 5,000 IU a day , which will fortify her milk with enough vitamin D for the baby. We call this super milk!
Although all standard infant formulas are fortified with vitamin D, vitamin D supplementation is also recommended for formula-fed babies. A baby would need to drink a quart of formula each day to get the recommended amount of vitamin D, Dr. Levine says, and young infants may not take in that much. Consult with your babys pediatrician or healthcare provider to make sure they are getting all the vitamin D they need.
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What’s The Vitamin D3 Dosage For Adults
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU per day for adults. However, some experts recommend that adults take even more up to 1000-2000 IU per day.
If you are over the age of 60, you may need even more vitamin D up to 800 IU per day.
But how much is too much?
The tolerable upper intake level for vitamin D is 4000 IU per day for adults. This is the highest level of daily vitamin D intake that is likely to pose no risks for almost all healthy people.
There are some people who may be at risk for vitamin D toxicity. This includes people who take high doses of vitamin D supplements, people with certain medical conditions, and people who are exposed to too much sunlight. If you think you may be at risk for vitamin D toxicity, talk to your doctor.
Vitamin D Vitamins & Supplements At Walgreens
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that works closely with calcium to keep bones and bodies strong. Vitamin D can be obtained through both food and dietary supplements, and its naturally produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Dietary supplements are a great option for anyone who struggles to get enough vitamin D through food and sun exposure. Walgreens offers vitamin D supplements in a variety of forms, including softgels, tablets, chewable gummies and wafers as well as liquids, all available for purchase online and in stores.
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What Are The Signs That I Took Too Much Vitamin D3
The signs of too much vitamin D include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking vitamin D supplements, stop taking the supplement and call your doctor.
You may need to be treated with intravenous fluids and medications. Vitamin D toxicity is rare, but it can be serious.
If you think you may have taken too much vitamin D, call your doctor or poison control center immediately. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity can take months to develop. Early treatment is important to prevent more serious health problems.
Yipes Don’t Take That Prescription
What IS cause for concern, however, is that if you were told to take Vitamin D 50 000 IU, you were probably given Prescription Vitamin D and THAT is what is not recommended. Prescription vitamin d is in the form of Vitamin D2 and vitamin d2 has many disadvantages over the recommended form of vitamin d. Please read the page on Vitamin D3 in order to understand why Vitamin D2 is far inferior to ‘over the counter’ vitamin d3 that you can get at a health food store.If your doctor wrote you a prescription for vitamin d, you should think twice about taking it for another reason. High dose vitamin d, taken all at once, are not recommended for someone who is unsure how they will react to Vitamin D. Vitamin D Side Effects are rare, but those who are seriously deficient are at higher risk.
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Vitamin D Is Referred To As The Sunlight Vitamin How Much Sunlight Exposure Do I Need To Receive An Adequate Amounts Of Vitamin D
When skin is exposed to sunlight cutaneous 7-dehydrocholesterol is converted to previtamin D-3 which is then metabolized in the body to the active form. However, relying on sunlight to meet our vitamin D requirements is controversial due to the well-known skin damage that results from even small amounts of exposure to sunlight. It has been suggested by some vitamin D researchers that approximately 530 min of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. However, numerous factors can reduce the skin’s ability to convert vitamin D including time of day, inclement weather or dark skin color. As well, conversion is less efficient in the skin of older persons and some individuals, such as those who are home-bound and get little to no sun exposure. Sunlight exposure through glass is ineffective in producing vitamin D because glass filters out the ultraviolet light necessary for that conversion.
Sunscreens with a sun protection factor or higher may block vitamin D-producing ultraviolet waves. However, people generally do not apply sufficient amounts of sunscreen to all sun-exposed skin and/or do not reapply it regularly so skin likely synthesizes some vitamin D even when it is protected by sunscreen as typically applied.
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.
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What Is The Vitamin D Status Of Canadians
Vitamin D status can be measured in two ways – vitamin D dietary intakes, and vitamin D blood levels. It is the blood level data that gives a true picture of the vitamin D status in the body. Vitamin D is unique in that there is another source besides diet and supplements, namely, sunlight. So even if dietary intakes do not appear to be adequate, overall vitamin D status may be much different.
Dietary intake data were collected in the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey . At a national level, there seems to be a very high prevalence of inadequate vitamin D intakes from food sources
Data on vitamin D intakes from food and supplement sources combined show a lower prevalence of inadequate vitamin D intakes, although still above 50% .
However, estimates of inadequate intakes of vitamin D must be interpreted with caution because the reference values to assess adequacy assume no vitamin D is contributed to the body by sun exposure. For this reason, data on vitamin D intakes from food and supplement sources cannot stand alone and consideration must be given to serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin-D D) levels, a well-established biomarker for vitamin D status.
Health Canada continues to recommend that people over the age of 50 years take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 International Units .
What Were The Findings
The IPD meta-regression showed that 436 IU of vitamin D was necessary for half of the participants to achieve 25D levels greater than 20 ng/mL and that 1044 IU was required for 97.5% of participants to be above 20 ng/mL . Comparatively, the standard meta-regression resulted in a RDA of 568 IU. There was no significant influence of BMI or age on vitamin D requirements.
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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
How Much Vitamin D Should Women Take
The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is the same for men and women, including those who are pregnant or lactating. The RDA is 15 micrograms or 600 international units for most people age 1 to 70 years old. For those older than 70, the ability to absorb vitamin D can become more difficult, and the RDA is 20 mcg or 800 IUs. Some patient populations may require more vitamin D, and your healthcare provider can help answer any questions you have about vitamin D supplementation.
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What Is The Generally Accepted Safe Upper Limit Of Vitamin D Intake
Although the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for most adults is only 600 IU, the general consensus is that a daily dose of up to 10,000 IU, or 250 micrograms, is safe.
Many vitamin D supplements reflect this consensus that higher doses are safe offering 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and up to 10,000 IU per gelatin capsule.
If daily doses of 10,000 IU were easily toxic, we cant imagine these supplements being made freely accessible in most of the world, year after year. Likely, health authorities would have acted to remove them from the market to protect the populations.
Moreover, according to the Vitamin D Council:
“Exposing your skin for a short time will make all the vitamin D your body can produce in one day. In fact, your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a little under the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn”
With this in mind, we are ready to answer a final question:
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take For Optimal Health
Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN Kim Chin, RD
Vitamin D is essential for good health.
Its often referred to as the sunshine vitamin and is made in your skin when exposed to sunlight.
Despite that, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world.
Up to 42% of the American adult population has low vitamin D levels, which can cause health problems (
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune system function.
This article discusses how much vitamin D you need.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin thats involved in many essential body functions.
There are two forms of vitamin D in the diet and supplements:
- Vitamin D2 : found in some mushrooms.
- Vitamin D3 : found in oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks.
D3 is the more powerful of the two types and raises vitamin D levels almost twice as much as D2 .
Significant amounts of vitamin D can also be made in your skin when exposed to UV rays from sunlight. Any excess vitamin D is stored in your body fat for later use.
Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. Its essential to many processes, including bone health, immune system function, and can help protect against cancer (
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Can You Get Enough Vitamin D From The Sun Alone
Some people will be able to get enough vitamin D just from sunlight. However, it depends on where in the world they live, the time of year, the time of day, and their skin color.
People who live nearer the equator get more sun exposure. In the Northern Hemisphere, a person may not get sufficient vitamin D from sunlight during the winter.
The sun is usually strongest between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. In the summer, a person does not need to be out in the sun for very long during this period to make enough vitamin D.
The amount of melanin a persons skin contains affects how much vitamin D they can make. Less melanin results in lighter skin, which does not protect as well against harmful ultraviolet rays.
People with more melanin in their skin have better protection from the sun, but take longer to make vitamin D. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic black people are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency.
These varied factors make it difficult to recommend how much sunlight a person should get to make the vitamin D that their body needs.
The Vitamin D Council gives some examples:
- At noon during summer in Miami, someone with a medium skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 6 minutes.
- At noon during summer in Boston, someone with a darker skin tone would need to expose one-quarter of their skin to sunlight for 2 hours.
- egg yolk
- beef liver
What Research Gaps Were Identified
The IOM expert committee identified areas where further research would help improve the determination of reference values in the future. A total of 22 major research needs were identified and are summarized in Table 9-1 of the report. The general categories of information gaps are:
- Data on the physiology and metabolism of calcium and vitamin D
- Data on health outcomes and adverse effects related to calcium and vitamin D
- Data on dose-response relationships between intakes of calcium and vitamin D and health outcomes
- Evidence to judge independent effects of calcium and vitamin D
- Information on the impact and role of sun exposure relative to vitamin D
- Standardized and consistent data on calcium and vitamin D intakes
- Exploration of methodologies for synthesizing evidence
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What About Sun Exposure
The DRIs for vitamin D are set based on the assumption of minimal sun exposure. This was necessary because of public health concerns about skin cancer due to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Currently, there is a lack of information about whether sun exposure may be experienced without increasing risk of cancer.
Many people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight. However, season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, skin pigmentation, and sunscreen use are all factors that can affect the amount of ultraviolet radiation received and thus vitamin D synthesis.
The DRI values have been set at levels that ensure that sun exposure is not necessary in order to obtain enough vitamin D.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take Daily
If you are unwilling, or unable, to follow all the safety guidelines associated with high-dose vitamin D, then you shouldnt be supplementing with doses higher than 10,000 IU per day.
Also, if you are pregnant or lactating, you should be even more careful and only do any supplementation under the guidance of a Doctor well familiarized with vitamin D.
In conclusion, the current RDA set for vitamin D seems to be able to help children avoid rickets while also helping healthy adults to avoid developing osteomalacia. If, however, you are not healthy and perfectly capable of getting all the daily Sun exposure required to maintain your good health, supplementing with 10,000 IU of vitamin D would be a good idea, once you get the green light from a qualified health care professional who is aware of your medical history.
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