What Are The Benefits Of Taking Vitamin D3
Some studies suggest that taking Vitamin D3 supplements may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. However, other research suggests that taking vitamin D3 does not have a substantial effect on these conditions.
According to the National Health Service in the UK, Vitamin D3 supplements are also effective for preventing bone fractures. However, it is more effective to improve bone strength by taking regular weight-bearing exercise, limiting caffeine intake and ensuring that you have a healthy diet.
/7what Is Vitamin D Toxicity And When Should You Stop Taking Your Supplements
Vitamin D toxicity or hypervitaminosis D is a very rare condition that signals elevated levels of vitamin D in the body. It is usually an outcome of excess intake of vitamin D supplements, which is hardly ever the case with sun exposure or eating vitamin D-rich foods.
As per experts, supplements should be taken only when extremely necessary. People living under extremely cold weather, with no access to sunlight, are recommended to take vitamin D supplements. Ideally, your foods can also be a great source of essential nutrients, but at times, you may need an extra dose of the sunshine vitamin, which is okay.
However, much to everyone’s surprise, too much Vitamin D in the body can cause many health problems. Before it gets more complicated, you must stop taking any more supplements. That said, here are some signs that can tell you that you need to stop your supplementation.
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.
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What Type Of Vitamin D Is Best
Vitamin D comes in two major forms, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 .
The human body can absorb and process both forms. However, as vitamin D3 occurs naturally as your bodys response to sunlight, its generally considered the preferred form of supplementation.
Vitamin D3 supplements are typically made using lanolin, a type of wax extracted from sheeps wool. However, at BetterYou, we use a plant-origin source of D3 in our Vegan Health Oral Spray and Vegan DLux 1000 Oral Spray.
With Food Or Without Food
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which affects vitamin D storage and absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins are usually absorbed in fat globules that pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
A common theory is that by taking vitamin D supplements with a meal that contains fat, vitamin D is more easily and effectively absorbed into the bloodstream.
A study by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants who took vitamin D supplements with a high-fat meal absorbed up to 32% more vitamin D than those who had a fat-free meal.
As such, it’s common for health care professionals to suggest taking vitamin D supplements with the largest meal of the day .
There are, however, a vast number of conflicting studies that find no connection between higher levels of vitamin D and consuming vitamin D supplements with food.
It seems that in the case of whether to take vitamin D with food or not, the jury is still out.
According to John Cannell, head of the vitamin D Council , when it comes to popping that vitamin D pill, “take it on a full stomach, take it on an empty stomach. Take it once a day, take it twice a day. Take it with fat, take it without fat. None of that matters.”
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The Best Ways To Take Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a world problem. Vitamin D Council
Now the days are drawing in, its important to take a vitamin D supplement if the UV index where you live is 3 or below this level of exposure is not enough to synthesise vitamin D in your skin. As a result, vitamin D levels tend to plummet during autumn and winter in people living in northern latitudes such as the UK.
Are Sprays Better Than Tablets
There’s no evidence to suggest this is a more effective way to absorb vitamin D, despite what some companies’ marketing implies.
A randomised, controlled trial , concluded that sprays are just as effective as tablets, but not better.
Many of the volunteers did say that they preferred the spray to taking a tablet, which is understandable – supplement fatigue can kick in if you’re having to to take other medicines in tablet form daily.
If you’re more likely to stick to taking vitamin D regularly if it’s in spray or gummy form it might be worth forking out the extra cost – you can shop around for the cheapest deals using our pricing tips above.
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What Type Of Magnesium Is Best For Calcium Absorption
As with calcium, chelated forms of magnesium are absorbed best by the body. Magnesium oxide is also available and is often less expensive, but it is poorly absorbed by the body. Since high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea, you should divide your doses and take them with meals throughout the day.
Can You Take Too Much Vitamin D And What Are The Risks
The NHS says 10mcg a day is enough for most of the population to avoid a deficiency, but many supplements contain much higher doses.
25mcg is a common ‘high-strength’ option from supermarkets, discounters and pharmacies, but supplements containing 50 or even 100mcg are also widely available.
Taking between 10 and 50mcg a day is unlikely to cause harm, but bear in mind more is not necessarily better. Taking too much vitamin D over a long period of time can cause calcium to build up in the body, which can actually weaken bones and damage your heart and kidneys. This is known as hypercalcaemia.
The NHS advises the following upper safety limits for vitamin D:
- Adults max 100mcg a day
- Children aged 10 and under max 50mcg a day
- Babies under one max 25mcg a day.
If you have a diagnosed deficiency , your doctor might prescribe you a course of high-dose vitamin D, but only for a short period.
Otherwise, you’re best sticking to less than 50mcg a day.
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How Much Vitamin D We Really Need
The trouble doesnt end there. Many experts disagree about how much vitamin D we truly need to be at our healthiest.
While The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adults get 600 IU of vitamin D per day, other organizations recommend aiming highermuch higher. The Endocrine Society, for example, suggests up to 2,000 IU per day, while the The Vitamin D Council recommends 5,000 IU.
Most registered dietitians and doctors think the governments recommendation is outdated and too low, explains Bhanote.
And while a few foodslike liver, fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushroomscontain some vitamin D, you cant rely on your diet alone to meet your nutrient needs, says Jennifer Dennis-Wall, Ph.D., science writer at research organization Biorasi.
Vitamin D And Sleep: The Surprising Connection
Vitamin D and sleep quality go hand-in-hand. Early research suggests vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin, your sleep hormone. Increasing vitamin D levels may suppress melatonin levels. So, it makes sense that taking it at night could disrupt your sleep.
That said, you still want to get enough vitamin D because your levels are directly related to the amount and quality of sleep youre getting. Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin D are linked with poor sleep quality. In one study, participants who increased their vitamin D levels saw significant improvement in sleep and neurologic symptoms.
In another study, researchers looked at the vitamin D levels and sleep quality of 3,048 men 68 years and older. They measured total sleep time, wake times and frequency and sleep efficiency, which measures the time spent in bed versus the time spent sleeping. The study found that low levels of vitamin D were linked with poor quality sleep and sleeping less than five hours a night. Low levels of vitamin D were also associated with lower sleep efficiency scores.
We know that vitamin D and sleep quality are linked, but were only really just beginning to understand how and why thats the case. Researchers believe that vitamin D may affect our shut-eye by interacting with the areas of the brain that regulate sleep. We also know that vitamin D plays a key role in supporting the immune system, and managing inflammation may support better sleep quality.
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Are You At Risk For These Common Nutrient Deficiencies
Yet very few foods have enough vitamin D to reach recommended daily intakes, and sunshine can be unreliable in certain climates. Men and women relying on sourcing vitamin D through diet alone typically dont exceed 288 IU a day on average. Even drinking an 8-ounce glass of milk will only get you 100 IU one-sixth the amount that many adults need daily.
But when supplements are added, they get closer to the 600 IU goal. Consider this: Women between ages 51 and 70, who averaged 156 IU through the diet-only approach, reached 404 IU with the help of supplements.
What Do Specific Vitamins Do
Each vitamin has one or more specific roles in the body. Vitamins have different molecular structures, making them more or less suitable for different tasks. Heres a breakdown of the main vitamins necessary for human health and their primary functions in the body:
- Vitamin A Necessary for vision functionality, tooth formation, bone formation, and immune system functionality
- Vitamin B1 Releases energy from foods and maintains your nervous system
- Vitamin B2 Helps with eyesight and healthy skin
- Vitamin B3 Assists with digestion, metabolism, and enzyme functionality
- Vitamin B5 Helps metabolism and hormone creation
- Vitamin B6 Helps your body produce certain proteins as well as red blood cells, hemoglobin, and insulin
- Vitamin B7 Releases energy from carbohydrates and helps metabolize fats, proteins, and hydrates
- Vitamin B9 Produces normal red blood cells and helps maintain the nervous system
- Vitamin C Helps the body absorb iron and produce collagen, plus helps with bone formation and wound healing. Improves the immune system
- Vitamin D Assists with the growth of teeth and bone tissue. Assists with the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus
- Vitamin E Acts as an antioxidant to fight off infections and keep your red blood cells as healthy as possible
- Vitamin K Keeps bones healthy and helps blood clot near wound sites
Lets explore some of the main factors that can affect the vitamin absorption rate in the body.
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Vitamin D Supplements Advice
Vitamin D supplements may state the amount in micrograms or international units . 1 microgram of vitamin D is the same as 40 international units . 10 micrograms equates to 400 international units .
Everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D , particularly during the winter months .
It is specifically recommended that groups at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency take a daily supplement all year round. These groups include:
- all pregnant and breastfeeding women
- infants and children under 5 years old
- people who have low or no exposure to the sun, for example those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, are housebound, confined indoors for long periods or live in an institution
- people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and south Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D
The current guidance on sun exposure should be followed: 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure is safe for all. Once sunscreen is correctly applied, vitamin D synthesis is blocked. Staying in the sun for prolonged periods without the protection of sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer.
Muscle Problems That Are Thought To Be Caused By Statins
Its possible that muscle aches and pains that are often thought to be caused by statins are actually caused by a lack of vitamin D. Too little vitamin D can cause muscle weakness and tenderness in the bones these muscle problems seem very similar to the ones linked to statins.
Because a lack of vitamin D is so common, its likely that many people who are taking statins dont have enough vitamin D.
Your doctor can check if you have enough vitamin D in your blood using a simple blood test.
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Could You Be Deficient
Consider having your vitamin D levels tested if
- You don’t get a lot of sun. People who live in colder climates are particularly at risk for a dip in D levels during winter months, since shorter days and full-coverage clothing limit exposure to UVB rays.
- You’re over 50. As we get older, we lose some of our ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight and from the food we eat.
- You’re carrying extra pounds. Studies have suggested a link between obesity and excess body fat particularly around your middle with low vitamin D levels. According to one study, for every 10 percent increase in body mass index , a person can expect to have a 4.2 percent drop in blood levels of vitamin D.
- You have dark skin. Excess melanin, the protective pigment that gives skin its color, hinders the skin’s ability to make vitamin D from sun exposure.
- You’ve got gut issues. Conditions that affect our gastrointestinal system, such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, do not allow the intestines to absorb enough vitamin D. Certain medications steroids, for one can also mess with absorption.
And although a clear connection with COVID-19 has not been found, a 2017 study involving more than 11,000 participants found evidence that vitamin D may help protect against upper respiratory tract infections.
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.*
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What Protects From Fractures
For older patients at risk of vitamin D deficiency, supplements can have a major impact. They can prevent osteomalacia, a softening of the bone that makes fractures more likely.
A University of Auckland meta-study reported that vitamin D supplements had little effect on bone density.
We would not expect vitamin D supplements to have a large impact on bone density unless the deficiency was severe, he says. Then their impact could be significant.
Improving bone density is not the only way to prevent fractures especially in older patients. Vitamin D can also have huge benefits for muscle function, cognition and falling.
One study found no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduced mortality, or prevented falls or fractures. A different study found no evidence that vitamin D supplements reduced overall mortality. Drilling down into the type of supplement taken, however, vitamin D3 significantly reduced mortality while vitamin D2 slightly increased mortality.