The Alphabet Of Amounts
RDA is the daily amount of a nutrient you should get, based on sex and age. DV is the percentage of a nutrient that a supplement or food serving adds to the average daily diet for all ages. UL is the most of a nutrient you should get in a day. Side effects from big doses range from tiredness or diarrhea to kidney stones or organ damage.
Help Protect Against Heart Disease And Stroke
Is vitamin D heart-healthy? A prior review of 19 studies linked adequate vitamin D to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. Yet the VITAL study, a large, randomized clinical trial study involving more than 25,000 participants and published in January 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found no risk reduction for strokes, heart attacks or cardiovascular deaths in people who took 2,000 IU supplements daily.
What Other Factors Can Lead To Vitamin D Deficiency
- Age: The skin’s ability to make vitamin D lessens with age.
- Mobility: People who are homebound or are rarely outside are not able to use sun exposure as a source of vitamin D.
- Skin color: Dark-colored skin is less able to make vitamin D than fair-colored skin.
- Human breast milk: A woman’s breast milk only contains a small amount of vitamin D. Often infant formulas also only include a small amount of D also. Therefore infants are at risk of not receiving enough vitamin D. This is especially true for infants who are only fed breast milk.
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How Do You Ensure You Have Enough Vitamin D
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 international units for most people ages 1 to 70, according to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. For people over the age of 70 its 800 IU, and for infants its 400 IU.
But its not easy to get that much vitamin D through diet and sunlight alone. The average amount of the nutrient that an individual gets from food and drink rarely exceeds 288 IU per day. Even drinking milk fortified with vitamin D will get you only 100 IU per 8-ounce glass, and the same goes for most plant-milk substitutes that are fortified with vitamin D.
Thats why many people take vitamin D supplements. The Endocrine Society recommends that adults take 1,5002,000 IU per day in supplements to avoid vitamin D deficiency, and 1,000 IU per day for infants and children. Yet recommendations vary widely. Keep in mind that there can be too much of a good thing with vitamin D, which is why the FNB set an upper limit of 4,000 IU per day in supplementation for people over age 9 and 1,0003,000 IU for infants and children up to age 8, depending on age. Dosages beyond those increase the risk for death, cancer, and cardiovascular events, as well as falls and fractures in seniors.
How To Take Vitamins And When You Should Take Them
If youre someone who strives to eat a healthy diet, then you might know a thing or two about eating foods that contain important vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and eating a balanced diet will provide the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, for many, eating healthy can be a challenge and taking a multivitamin multimineral supplement is a good strategy to stay on track.
If youre someone who is interested in incorporating more vitamins into your diet, then weve got you covered. Below, we cover how to take vitamins and the best time to take them.
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What Are Vitamins Anyway
First, lets quickly go over what vitamins are, why theyre essential, and more. There are actually 13 of these organic compounds that people require for functional health. We only need them in small quantities, but most vitamins have to come from either food or supplements. This is because the human body is either incapable of producing them or it produces an insufficient amount.
A vitamin is an organic compound, which means that it contains carbon. Your body needs these organic substances for several reasons. First, theyre required for cell growth. With an improper amount of nutrients, your cells wont be able to develop as theyre supposed to.
In addition to this, vitamins are necessary for function and development. When youre lacking any vitamin, youll find that you do experience adverse effects. By supplementing a lack of nutrients, youre supporting your body.
As we mentioned, there are 13 essential vitamins. This group gets divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. These categories are impactful, as they can dictate how long a vitamin can last in your system, i.e. how frequently you need to intake that certain vitamin.
Why Is Vitamin D So Important
Vitamin D is one of many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy. This vitamin has many functions, including:
- Keeping bones strong: Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including rickets. Rickets is a disorder that causes children to have bones that are weak and soft. It is caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. In adults, having soft bones is a condition called osteomalacia.
- Absorbing calcium: Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. Vitamin D, once either taken orally or from sunshine exposure is then converted to an active form of the vitamin. It is that active form that promotes optimal absorption of calcium from your diet.
- Working with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work minute to minute to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed and put to good use throughout the body. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will borrow calcium from the skeleton in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range.
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The Benefits Of Supplementing With Vitamin D
The reason why vitamin D supplements have become such a necessity for most people: “There are essentially no good, natural food sources of vitamin D,” says renowned vitamin D researcher Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Boston University and author of The Vitamin D Solution.*
Since a 3-ounce serving of farmed salmon contains about 447 IU, while a cup of fortified milk offers up to 100 IU, and 8 ounces of vanilla yogurt provides just 86 IU, you’d have to eat a truly unrealistic amount of D-containing foods to rack up a significant amount . “You really cannot get enough vitamin D from your diet,” Holick confirms.
And while you can get some vitamin D from sunlight, it’s still practically impossible to meet your needs via food and safe skin exposure alone, according to Holick. “Unless you’re a lifeguard, it’s unrealistic to think you can get enough vitamin D exposure from the sun,” he says.
In fact, his research on vitamin D levels has found that average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of adults in the U.S. were only hovering around 18 to 22 ng/ml at the end of winter, and still only at 29 ng/ml at the end of summer. Both fall below the 30 ng/ml cutoff for baseline vitamin D sufficiency. . “The difference is small regardless of season,” Holick says. “You still can’t get enough.”
Because of these different factors, Holick recommends supplementing with vitamin D daily.*
Supplements And Your Prescriptions
Even essential nutrients can interfere with many common medications. If you take a traditional blood thinner like warfarin, just the small amount of vitamin K in an MVM can cut its strength. Taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin E per day can raise your risk for bleeding. And if you take thyroid medication, taking calcium, magnesium, or iron within 4 hours can cut its strength. Ask your doctor about how best to time it.
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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.
Why Do We Need Vitamin D
Vitamin D is often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Sunshine really does make us feel good. Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression caused by lack of sunshine. But it does more – about 90% of our body’s vitamin D is made in our skin from sunshine falling on it. That’s all very well if you live in the Mediterranean, but in gloomy old Britain, the sun isn’t strong enough between October and April to give us any vitamin D.
Do you need to take a vitamin D supplement every day?
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The Vitamin D Deficiency Crisis
Vitamin D deficiency is rife across the globe, particularly in the United States.
When we consider vitamin D s vast array of health benefits, and its ability to ward off nasty diseases, it’s shocking to learn that approximately 40% of the American population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency.
This staggeringly high statistic largely comes down to a lack of sun exposure and ow consumption of vitamin D-rich foods.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise then that dietitians often recommend vitamin D supplementation.
However, there is a such a thing as too much vitamin D – known as Vitamin D Toxicity.
If you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or too little vitamin D, it’s worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
Toxicity is caused by having too much vitamin D in the system, which can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia .
Regardless, if you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or too little vitamin D, it’s worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
To learn more about the telltale signs of a vitamin D deficiency, and testing vitamin D levels, read our blog post on how to know if you’re deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D toxicity is a much rarer case than being vitamin d deficient though, so have no fear.
/7when Do You Need Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is very different from other vitamins. It is said to be a kind of hormone, in fact a steroid hormone secreted from the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.
Given that a very few foods can provide you with this essential nutrient, in the absence of sufficient sunlight, in cold winter weathers, it could become difficult to get enough vitamin D, leading to vitamin D deficiency.
This is when supplements come into play. Taking Vitamin D supplements is an effective way to meet your nutritional needs and prevent deficiency. It is easy to take and most often safe to consume. However, too much of it can also lead to various side effects and complications. Read on to find out all about them.
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Incorporating It Into Your Morning
Many people prefer to take supplements such as vitamin D first thing in the morning.
Not only is it often more convenient, but its also easier to remember your vitamins in the morning than later in the day.
This is especially true if youre taking multiple supplements, as it can be challenging to stagger supplements or medications throughout the day.
For this reason, it may be best to get in the habit of taking your vitamin D supplement with a healthy breakfast.
Using a pillbox, setting an alarm or storing your supplements near your dining table are a few simple strategies to remind you to take your vitamin D.
Some people may find that taking vitamin D first thing in the morning is more convenient and easier to remember than taking it later on.
Consume Fatty Fish And Seafood
Fatty fish and seafood are among the richest natural food sources of vitamin D.
In fact, a 3.5-ounce serving of canned salmon can provide up to 386 IU of vitamin D about 50% of the RDI .
The exact vitamin D content of seafoods may vary depending on the type and species in question. For example, some research suggests that farmed salmon may contain only 25% of the amount of wild-caught salmon (
Fatty fish and seafood are among the foods highest in vitamin D, though exact vitamin content may vary depending on the type and source of the food in question.
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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 they’re 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.
Should Everyone Stop Vitamin D
It’s important to put this new study into context. It didn’t look at babies and children under 5, so does nothing to undermine the current Public Health England guidance that they, along with pregnant women, should take a daily supplement. People who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency because they cover up for religious reasons or don’t get outside at all should also continue to take supplementation.
In addition, this study was only looking at the impact of vitamin D on bone health. In recent years, we’ve discovered that vitamin D regulates at least 1,000 genes in the body – affecting blood vessels, immune system, muscle strength and more. Tiredness and muscle pains are the most common symptoms, but low levels have been linked to an increased risk of depression, heart disease and even multiple sclerosis.
As yet, there haven’t been any large scale studies looking at whether taking a vitamin D supplement, if you’re at risk of deficiency, protects against any of these. But vitamin D at the recommended levels doesn’t appear to have any adverse side effects: so if Vitamin D supplements does offer any protection at all, the risk: benefit ratio is likely to come down in favour of taking them.
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Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D
Too much vitamin D can be harmful. It is not possible for the body to make too much vitamin D from sun exposure.
Having too much in the body usually results from taking supplements. However, it is very rare and usually only occurs when people take a very high dose for an extended period, such as more than a year.
The maximum quantity of vitamin D that a person can take before it causes health problems is . Symptoms of having too much vitamin D in the blood include:
Calcium And Vitamin D: A Partnership
Calcium and vitamin D is the dynamic duo that works together to strengthen and protect your bones. For years, healthcare providers have recommended that postmenopausal women take calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that is a major cause of devastating fractures in old age.
Research linking calcium supplements to heart attack and stroke caused many to take vitamin D supplements alone for prevention.
Calcium supplements can increase calcification in the arteries and predispose people, especially women, to heart disease, he says. Thats why we always prefer dietary calcium. However, some people get adequate dietary calcium but are low in vitamin D.
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Spend Time In Sunlight
Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient.
Your skin hosts a type of cholesterol that functions as a precursor to vitamin D. When this compound is exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, it becomes vitamin D.
In fact, sun-derived vitamin D may circulate for twice as long as vitamin D from food or supplements (
However, the amount of vitamin D your body can make depends on several variables.
Its Very Individual How Much Sun Exposure A Person Needs Roberta Bivins
Its very individual how much sun exposure a person needs during summer, depending on the pigment in the skin to the amount of fat in the body and how quickly your body makes new bone. Its incredibly complicated, she says.
Thats why the best way to determine if you have low vitamin D is not by symptoms alone, but with a blood test arranged through your medic.
Then there is the question of exactly what level of supplementation people need. Reid says theres no danger in taking over-the-counter vitamin D of less than 25 nanomols per day.
US and Canada guidelines suggest taking 15 micrograms of vitamin D supplements each day, but some believe its not enough
But with supplements offering doses as high as 62.5 micrograms available over the counter, there are concerns around the risk of excessive vitamin D levels, which can, in rare cases, cause side effects, including nausea and vomiting. In the long term, some studies suggest too much vitamin D can increase risk of cardiovascular disease, although the research isnt conclusive.
But others argue that even more vitamin D is needed.
With such conflicting results, its unsurprising that medical experts themselves are deeply divided over the benefits of widespread supplementation. Some even argue that vested interests are propping up the billion-dollar vitamin industry, with Spector calling vitamin D supplements a pseudo-vitamin for a pseudo-disease.
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