What Are The Functions Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts as a hormone in our bodies, regulating many processes that keep us healthy. One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help balance the levels of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies, which are needed to form our bones and teeth, to help our muscles contract, to help nerves carry messages between the brain and the body and to keep our cells functioning well. Vitamin D is also important to support the healthy function of our immune system.
Synthesis In The Skin
Vitamin D3 is produced photochemically from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin of most vertebrate animals, including humans. The precursor of vitamin D3, 7-dehydrocholesterol is produced in relatively large quantities. 7-Dehydrocholesterol reacts with UVB light at wavelengths of 290â315 nm. These wavelengths are present in sunlight, as well as in the light emitted by the UV lamps in tanning beds . Exposure to light through windows is insufficient because glass almost completely blocks UVB light.
Adequate amounts of vitamin D can be produced with moderate sun exposure to the face, arms and legs , averaging 5â30 minutes twice per week, or approximately 25% of the time for minimal sunburn. The darker the skin, and the weaker the sunlight, the more minutes of exposure are needed. Vitamin-D overdose is impossible from UV exposure: the skin reaches an equilibrium where the vitamin degrades as fast as it is created.
The skin consists of two primary layers: the inner layer called the dermis, and the outer, thinner epidermis. Vitamin D is produced in the keratinocytes of two innermost strata of the epidermis, the stratum basale and stratum spinosum, which also are able to produce calcitriol and express the VDR.
Provide Relief For Symptoms Of Autoimmune Conditions
Researchers have long been fascinated with the potential effect that vitamin D may have on autoimmune disorders because of the nutrients role in regulating the immune system, according to Harvard University. But as is the case with much of the research on vitamin D, more study is needed.
A 2016 review of clinical trials and molecular studies published in Frontiers in Immunology concluded, Based on the current data on the effect of vitamin D supplementation, it is still not possible to draw conclusions about the added value for the treatment of autoimmunity.
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Common Uses Of Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 helps support immune health as well as various other important functions in the body. As part of your daily health routine, regular D3 supplementation can help protect you against seasonal and environmental threats. Additionally, by helping support immune cell function and promoting healthy immune responses, D3 can help reduce common oxidative stress.
The role that vitamin D3 plays in supporting bone strength allows it to be an important addition to a daily routine for those looking to maintain strong, healthy bones. As part of a healthy lifestyle, D3 can help achieve optimal peak bone mass to support a healthy musculoskeletal structure at any age.
Finally, vitamin D3 can be used to support heart health. A lack of vitamin D3 in the diet can be associated with high cholesterol, so with regular supplementation, you can promote healthy cholesterol levels to support heart and arterial health.
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How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated
The goals of treatment and prevention for vitamin D deficiency are the same: to reach and then maintain an adequate vitamin D level in your body.
While you might consider eating more foods containing vitamin D and getting more sunlight, your healthcare provider will likely recommend taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2 comes from plants. D3 comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. Your body more easily absorbs D3 than D2.
Work with your healthcare provider to find out if you need a vitamin supplement and how much to take, if needed.
The Final Verdict On Vitamin D
No bones about it, the endocrinologists we interviewed agree with our dermatologist.
“Just being outdoors, you get a fair amount of sun exposure and some sun-related generation of vitamin D, says Dr. Insogna. Because skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can be such a devastating disease, it’s best to use sunblock when outdoors in strong sunlight for any prolonged length of time. Because this may limit the amount of vitamin D you get from sun exposure, make sure your diet includes sources of vitamin D from foods or supplements, he says.
Both your skin and your bones will thank you.
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How To Use Vitamin D3 Tablet
Take vitamin D by mouth as directed. Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken after a meal but may be taken with or without food. Alfacalcidol is usually taken with food. Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take as directed by your doctor. Your dosage is based on your medical condition, amount of sun exposure, diet, age, and response to treatment.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are taking the chewable tablet or wafers, chew the medication thoroughly before swallowing. Do not swallow whole wafers.
If you are taking the rapidly-dissolving tablets, dry your hands before handling the medication. Place each dose on the tongue, allow it to dissolve completely, and then swallow it with saliva or water. You do not need to take this medication with water.
Certain medications can decrease the absorption of vitamin D. Take your doses of these medications as far as possible from your doses of vitamin D . It may be easiest to take vitamin D at bedtime if you are also taking these other medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should wait between doses and for help finding a dosing schedule that will work with all your medications.
Support Immunity With Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is much more than the sunshine vitamin. It also plays an important role in supporting immune function. Through specific mechanisms, vitamin D3 activates key peptides in the immune system that help defend against environmental threats. This peptide activity influences immune cell activity, to promote strong immune responses.
Reduced levels of vitamin D3, can affect your immune cells ability to protect against occasional environmental threats. In order for immune cells such as T cells to function efficiently, they must first encounter a seasonal or environmental threat. At this time, the T cells extend a special receptor that looks for vitamin D3. If the T cell cannot find the vitamin, it cannot be activated, nor can it become mobilized to protect you.
There is also a role for vitamin D3 involving overstimulation of the immune system. This is critical in helping to reduce occasional unnecessary immune responses. The knowledge of vitamin D3s activating role in the immune response can help researchers learn more about reducing these unwanted immune responses.
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Healthy People Wont Reduce Their Fracture Risk By Taking Calcium And Vitamin D Supplements Sarah Leyland
We know that healthy people living in the community wont reduce their fracture risk by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, Leyland says. However, people who may not be getting enough such as those who are housebound or live in sheltered accommodation can benefit from these supplements.
Still, researchers havent found clear evidence of that, either. One meta-analysis examining the prevention of fractures in community, nursing home and hospital inpatient populations concluded that vitamin D alone is unlikely to prevent fractures in the doses and formulations tested so far in older people. And some evidence suggests that high doses can actually result in an increased number of fractures and falls. One randomised study found that high-dose monthly vitamin D supplements increased the risk of falls among the elderly population by 20-30% compared to those on a lower dose.
D for disease
There is also conflicting research on the relationship between vitamin D and other diseases, even ageing.
One main claim is that vitamin D supplements will boost the immune system. Adrian Martineau, professor of respiratory infection and immunity at The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, who leads a research group on the effects of vitamin D on health, has found that vitamin D plays a role in improving respiratory infections.
One study found that vitamin D helps decrease the risk of respiratory infections though only slightly
Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
You may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, if you:
- have naturally very dark skin this is because the pigment in dark skin doesnt absorb as much UV radiation.
- avoid the sun due to previous skin cancers, or have sensitive skin
- spend a long time indoors and have limited sun exposure
- wear covering to conceal your body
- are obese
- have a disability or condition that affects vitamin D metabolism such as end stage liver disease, renal disease or fat malabsorption syndromes
- take medication that affects vitamin D absorption
- are a breastfed baby of a mother who is vitamin D deficient .
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What Is This Medication
VITAMIN D prevents and treats low vitamin D levels in your body. It works by increasing the amount of calcium absorbed by your body. Vitamin D and calcium help build and maintain the health of your bones. Vitamin D also plays an important role in supporting your immune system and brain health.
This medicine may be used for other purposes ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME: DECARA, Deltalin, Dialyvite, Dialyvite Vitamin D, Drisdol, Ergo D, Happy Sunshine Vitamin D3, MAXIMUM D3, PureMark Naturals Vitamin D, Super Happy SUNSHINE Vitamin D3, Thera-D 2000, Thera-D 4000, Thera-D Rapid Repletion, THERA-D SPORT
Should I Take Vitamin D Or D3
Vitamin D and vitamin D3 are each effective vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D2 is approved in the treatment of hypoparathyroidism, vitamin D resistant rickets, and hypophosphatemia. Both supplements are commonly used for vitamin D supplementation.
Studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplements may be superior in raising the bodys vitamin D stores. There are many health benefits to vitamin D supplementation, but your doctor should use lab tests to recommend the amount of vitamin D you should take and which form.
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What Happens If I Overdose
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of vitamin D can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.
Overdose symptoms may include nausea, loss of appetite, thirst, urinating more or less than usual, body aches, stiffness, confusion, or irregular heartbeats.
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.
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What Happens If I Have Too Little Vitamin D
We can get a deficiency in vitamin D when we dont get enough exposure to sunlight, when we dont have or dont absorb enough vitamin D from foods, or when our kidneys dont properly convert vitamin D to its active form in our bodies.
Low levels of vitamin D can impair our bodies ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus from foods, which then need to be moved from our bones to supply the rest of the body. Over time, this causes our bones to become less dense and weaker. In children it can lead to rickets, a condition that causes bones to become weak and soft, often affecting the normal growth of bones such as causing the bowing of the legs bones. In adults, it leads to osteomalacia, a similar condition in which bones become soft. It can also cause pain in muscles and an increased risk of falls or bone fracture.
In the long-term, vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis, particularly among the elderly or after menopause/andropause. Osteoporosis, also known as brittle bones, is a disease that causes bones to become very weak and fragile, increasing the risk of bone fracture.
Uv Levels In Victoria
From mid-August to the end of April, average UV levels in Victoria are 3 and above for much of the day so sun protection is recommended.
Sensible sun protection measures should not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
From May to mid-August, average UV levels in Victoria are typically low . During this time sun protection is not recommended unless you work outdoors, are near highly reflective surfaces , or are outside for extended periods.
Overexposure to UV is never recommended, even for people who have vitamin D deficiency.
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When Should I Pay Extra Attention To A Vitamin D Deficiency
Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is directly exposed to the sun, which is why people with low sun exposure are more prone to having lower levels of this vitamin. This can include people who live in countries with long periods of low sun exposure or people who regularly fully cover their bodies with clothing .
People with darker skin also need to keep their vitamin D levels in mind, because the skin pigment melanin reduces the production of vitamin D.
With age, our bodies have less capacity to make vitamin D and were also more likely to stay indoors, which reduces our sun exposure. Particularly, the elderly need to keep good intakes of vitamin D, as it helps to increase the calcium absorption from foods and to face health problems such as osteoporosis.
How Is The 25
Your doctor will tell you not to eat anything for four to eight hours before the test.
The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test requires a common blood test. Your healthcare provider will draw blood from a vein in your arm using a needle. A quick finger prick will more than likely provide enough for a blood sample in children and infants.
Results will depend on your age, sex, and the testing methods used. Results can also slightly vary from lab to lab.
According to the , levels of vitamin D are measured by the 25-hydroxy level in nanomoles/liter or nanograms/milliliter . The results can indicate the following:
- deficiency: less than 30 nmol/L
- potential deficiency: between 30 nmol/L and 50 nmol/L
- normal levels: between 50 nmol/L and 125 nmol/L
- high levels: higher than 125 nmol/L
If your vitamin D levels are low and youre having symptoms of bone pain, a doctor may recommend a special scan to check bone density. Doctors use this painless scan to evaluate a persons bone health.
Low blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D usually mean one of the following:
- you arent eating a balanced, complete diet
- your intestines arent absorbing the vitamin properly
- youre not spending enough time outside to absorb adequate vitamin D levels through sun exposure
Some evidence links vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of certain cancers, immune diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
High levels are rarely due to consuming too much of the vitamin through foods or sun exposure.
- excessive bleeding
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What Happens During A Vitamin D Test
A vitamin D test is a blood test. During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.