So Who Should Be Screened For Vitamin D Deficiency
Dr. Finkelstein and his colleagues published a study of over 2,000 perimenopausal women who had been followed for almost 10 years, and they found that vitamin D levels less than 20 were associated with a slightly increased risk of nontraumatic fractures. They concluded that because few foods contain vitamin D, vitamin D supplementation is warranted in women at midlife with levels less than 20 ng/mL. “For perimenopausal women or other groups of people with higher fracture risk, certainly a level of 20 or above is ideal,” and he adds: “For the vast majority of healthy individuals, levels much lower, 15, maybe 10, are probably perfectly fine, and so I would say I agree with what the authors of the New England Journal perspective article are saying.”
All that said, most experts, including Dr. Finkelstein, agree we should be checking vitamin D levels in high-risk people those most at risk for a true deficiency. These include people with anorexia nervosa, people who have had gastric bypass surgeries, who suffer from other malabsorption syndromes like celiac sprue, or who have dark skin, or wear total skin covering . In addition, certain populations will require that vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml or higher. This can include perimenopausal women, people diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis or other skeletal disorders, as well as pregnant and lactating women. All of these groups should be screened and treated as appropriate.
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How Vitamin D Supplements Work
Vitamin D helps control how much calcium and phosphate you absorb from food. Calcium is essential for bone health. Phosphate is needed for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and basic bodily functions.
Vitamin D supplements come in two forms:
- Vitamin D2 is naturally found in some plants.
- Vitamin D3 is naturally found in animals and is produced by the skin when its exposed to sunlight.
You can meet your vitamin D needs with either form. But healthcare providers generally suggest vitamin D3 supplements. Thats because it:
- Raises your overall vitamin D level more than D2
- Lasts longer in the body than D2
Vitamin D3 supplements are sold as capsules, soft gel tablets, gummies, and liquid drops.
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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Vitamin D3 And Your Health
Vitamin D3 could be called the bone-supporting vitamin, as well as the sunshine vitamin. It is one of the most vital minerals required for optimal bone health.
Vitamin D3 ensures that your body absorbs enough calcium and phosphorus from your food to support bone strength. This is especially important as you get older, as the breakdown of bone occurs faster than new bone generation.
In addition to bone health, vitamin D3 also provides benefits to other parts of the body.
Heart health: Vitamin D3 works with vitamin K to help promote normal cholesterol levels which supports optimal blood flow for proper heart health.
Weight management: Vitamin D3 possesses appetite-suppressing effects and supports healthy cholesterol levels, which can promote healthy weight management.
Immune health: Vitamin D3 encourages peptide activity in the immune system to support defenses and protect against environmental threats.
Mood health: Vitamin D3 supports cognitive function and can help the body manage stress to promote a sense of calm and focus
Will Vitamin D3 Give Me Energy
Vitamin D is important for the health of your immune system and can help control insulin levels. It also keeps your energy level up and improves your mood. However, it is not a quick fix and will not give you an immediate energy boost.
If you are feeling tired, it is best to consult with your doctor to find out the cause. Vitamin D supplements can help if you are deficient in vitamin D, but they will not solve all of your energy problems.
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Vitamin D2 And Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, as sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin. It is vitamin D3 that is produced when your skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources and fortified foods, and vitamin D3 is found in animal sources such as oily fish, liver, and egg yolks. Vitamin D2 is cheaper to produce, so it is found in fortified foods more often than you would find vitamin D3.
Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are able to increase your overall vitamin D levels, but vitamin D3 is more effective in this role. Each is effectively absorbed into the blood, but once in the liver, the vitamins are processed differently.
Vitamin D2 is metabolized into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and vitamin D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Collectively these two compounds are called calcifediol, and this is the circulating form of vitamin D measured in your blood levels. Vitamin D3 yields more calcifediol than its relative, making it more effective at increasing your total calcifediol levels in the blood.
When taking supplements, a single dose of vitamin D3 was found to be twice as effective at raising calcifediol levels. If blood tests reveal that you are vitamin D-deficient, then taking a dose of vitamin D3 will help you to get your levels back within a healthy range.
Benefits Of Vitamin D3
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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.
Vitamin K2 And Heart Health
One of the factors that can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases is arterial narrowing because of calcium buildup along its walls . This narrowing forces the heart to work harder to pump blood into vessels, which strains the heart muscles and causes artery stiffening as well.
Vitamin K2 has been shown to reduce the risk of vascular damage, and by extension coronary heart disease. The K2 activated osteocalcin protein also activates another protein called Matrix Gla Protein . This inhibits the deposits of calcium on the vessel walls , .
A study was done on Menaquinone-7 and its effect on arterial stiffness which showed that MK7 supplementation has a beneficial effect on the pulse wave velocity .
Most patients on hemodialysis have a functional vitamin K deficiency. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 2012 on 53 long-term dialysis patients. The results justified the rationale of a daily supplement of K2 to help in improving the bioactivity of VItamin K dependent proteins .
A review published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis in 2008 suggested that an adequate vitamin K intake is essential to maintain the risk and rate of calcification as low as possible .
Summary: Vitamin K2 is essential for the inhibition of calcium deposits on the blood vessel walls and in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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What Are The Levels Of Vitamin D Deficiency And Symptoms
Vitamin D helps absorb and retain the calcium in the bone tissue, helping with the strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause muscle cramps, tendon inflammation, and nonspecific muscle pains.
- Under 25 nm/L is considered a deficiency
- Less than 50 nm/L is considered insufficiency
- Bordering from 30 to 50 nm/L is insufficiency
Research suggests that about 40 percent of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Bone pain and weakness are the most common clinical symptoms present. Severe vitamin D levels can cause rickets and osteomalacia , increased tendency to fractures, poor muscle health, and mood disorders.
Symptoms of excess vitamin D3 in the body
This happens when you are taking vitamin D3 supplements and not monitoring the levels.
The vitamin D3 toxicity symptoms include:
People At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some people will not make enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that adults and children over 4 take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- are not often outdoors for example, if theyre frail or housebound
- are in an institution like a care home
- usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
If you have dark skin for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background you may also not make enough vitamin D from sunlight.
You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
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How Does Vitamin D3 Work
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in only a few foods, added to others, and obtained as a dietary supplement. It’s also made naturally by the body when sunlight hit the skin and stimulate vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D , also known as calcidiol.
Calcitriol circulates as a hormone in the blood and regulates calcium and phosphate metabolism for bone formation and other physiological functions. Vitamin D sufficiency is achieved when serum 25D concentrations are 30 ng/mL .
Most vitamin D is derived from sun exposure however, the amount of sun exposure required to maintain adequate levels varies by age, skin pigmentation, season, latitude, time of day, clothing habits, and use of sunscreen.
People who have limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet or take supplements to achieve and maintain adequate serum 25D concentrations.
What Else Should I Know About What Is Vitamin D3 Good For
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and may contribute to overall good health. Many people get vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but some may need to take supplements.
Vitamin D can be toxic in large doses, so it’s important not to take more than the recommended amount. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how much vitamin D you should take.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium. It’s essential for strong bones and teeth, and it may also protect against some cancers and other chronic diseases.
Getting enough vitamin D is especially important for people who are at risk for osteoporosis, have dark skin, or don’t get much exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D is available in supplements, but you can also get it from food and sunlight. The best way to get vitamin D is by spending time outdoors in the sun.
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Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
If you have diabetes in your family or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you might want to consider taking more Vitamin D. Recent studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. You may be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by overcoming insulin resistance.
The cells in the pancreas that produce insulin have alpha-hydroxylase enzymes and VDRs, which are important in determining glucose tolerance and resistance to insulin.
Vitamin D deficiency can also reduce the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, which might cause insulin resistance and modify how the body responds to glucose. Given these findings, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to see if taking extra Vitamin D improves your overall health.
Does Vitamin D3 Prevent The Flu
Vitamin D has several immunomodulatory functions, including upregulation of antiviral peptides that are part of human innate immunity and can inactivate the influenza virus. There is a paucity of well-designed clinical studies supporting the use of vitamin D3 to prevent influenza in children.
What is the best time to take vitamin D3?
For this reason, its recommended to take vitamin D supplements with a meal to enhance absorption. According to one study in 17 people, taking vitamin D with the largest meal of the day increased vitamin D blood levels by about 50% after just 23 months .
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Some Perspective On What Is And Isnt Vitamin D Deficiency
I spoke with osteoporosis expert Dr. Joel Finkelstein, associate director of the Bone Density Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, whose research in this field spans over three decades. He agreed with the authors of the NEJM article that we are currently over-screening for vitamin D deficiency, and overtreating people who are getting enough vitamin D through diet and sun exposure. “Vitamin D has been hyped massively,” he states. “We do not need to be checking the vitamin D levels of most healthy individuals.”
He points out that from an evolutionary standpoint, it doesnt make sense that higher vitamin D levels would be beneficial to humans. “Vitamin D is actually quite hard to find in naturally occurring food sources,” he points out. “Yes, we can get vitamin D from the sun, but our bodies evolved to create darker skin in the parts of the world that get the most sun. If vitamin D is so critical to humans, why would we evolve in this way, to require something that is hard to come by, and then evolve in such a way as to make it harder to absorb?”
The Basics Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a unique type of vitamin because it actually acts more like a steroid hormone than a dietary aid and is not readily available in most foods like other vitamins often are because of this, its estimated that nearly 75 percent of people have some kind of deficiency.
Rather, vitamin D is sourced primarily from the sun, which is why its often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. When the skin absorbs sunlight, it synthesizes the UVB rays into vitamin D.
Though you should always limit long exposure to the sun, getting adequate amounts of rays is the first step in ensuring your body has good stores, which is important since vitamin D has a tremendous effect on mood and, over time, can help to ease symptoms of depression. Its also a type of fat-soluble vitamin that plays a major role in the way the body absorbs other nutrients.
But not everywhere in the world is as sunny as California or Florida, which limits access, and because the synthesization process varies from person to person, not everyone has the same capability to intake the proper amounts needed for optimal well-being. This is where supplements come into play.
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How Should I Take Cholecalciferol
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all the guides or instruction sheets. Use only the recommended dose of cholecalciferol.
It may be best to take cholecalciferol after a meal, but you may take it with or without food.
Measure liquid cholecalciferol carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device .
The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.
To take a disintegrating tablet, place it on your tongue and do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.
The cholecalciferol wafer is usually taken only once per week or once per month. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully. The wafer must be chewed before you swallow it.
While using cholecalciferol, you will need frequent blood tests. You may also need x-rays.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with cholecalciferol.
Cholecalciferol may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes dietary changes and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Learn about the foods you should eat to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your cholecalciferol dose may need to be adjusted as you make changes to your diet.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, light, and heat.