Overweight People Tend To Have Lower Vitamin D Levels
Studies show that a higher body mass index and body fat percentage are associated with lower blood levels of vitamin D .
Several different theories speculate about the relationship between low vitamin D levels and obesity.
Some claim that obese people tend to consume fewer vitamin D-rich foods, thus explaining the association.
Others point to behavioral differences, noting that obese individuals tend to expose less skin and may not be absorbing as much vitamin D from the sun.
Furthermore, certain enzymes are needed to convert vitamin D into its active form, and levels of these enzymes may differ between obese and non-obese individuals .
However, a 2012 study noted that once vitamin D levels in obese individuals are adjusted for body size, theres no difference between levels in obese and non-obese individuals .
This indicates that your vitamin D needs depend on body size, meaning obese individuals need more than normal-weight people to reach the same blood levels. This could help explain why obese people are more likely to be deficient.
Interestingly, losing weight can also affect your vitamin D levels.
In theory, a reduction in body size would mean a decrease in your vitamin D requirement. However, since the amount of it in your body remains the same when you lose weight, your levels would actually increase .
And the degree of weight loss may affect the extent to which its levels increase.
Why Your Eyes Need Vitamin D And Where To Get It
Research from the American Optometric Association discusses how crucial vitamin D is for our eyes, bones, and heart. Having a deficiency can lead to many types of cancers as well as eye conditions. When we think about nutrients for eye health, we often jump to beta-carotene. But, vitamin D is incredibly necessary for eye health and strong vision.
Despite its underrated reputation, vitamin D may be one of the most beneficial nutrients for preventing age-related macular degeneration . The benefits dont end there though vitamin Ds power is extensive. Luckily, there are many different sources we can get it from to maintain optimal eye health.
Some Fish Are Extremely High In Mercury
The amount of mercury in fish and other seafood depends on the species and the levels of pollution in its environment.
One study from 1998 to 2005 found that 27% of fish from 291 streams around the United States contained more than the recommended limit .
Another study discovered that one-third of fish caught on the New Jersey shore had mercury levels higher than 0.5 parts per million a level that could cause health problems for people who eat this fish regularly (
In fact, larger, predatory fish may contain mercury concentrations up to 10 times higher than the fish they consume. This process is called biomagnification .
U.S. government agencies recommend keeping your blood mercury levels below 5.0 mcg per liter .
One U.S. study in 89 people found that mercury levels ranged from 2.089.5 mcg per liter, on average. A whopping 89% had levels higher than the maximum limit .
Additionally, the study noted that higher fish intake was linked to higher mercury levels.
Whats more, many studies have determined that people who regularly eat larger fish such as pike and perch have higher levels of mercury (
One study in 1,800 men found that those with the highest levels of mercury were twice as likely to die from heart-related problems than men with lower levels .
Nevertheless, the nutritional benefits of fish likely outweigh the risks from mercury exposure as long as you moderate your consumption of high-mercury fish .
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Signs Symptoms And Associated Disorders
Vitamin D deficiency may only be detected on blood tests, but is the cause of some bone diseases and is associated with other conditions:
- , a childhood disease characterized by impeded growth and deformity of the . The earliest sign of vitamin D deficiency is , abnormal softening or thinning of the skull.
- , a bone-thinning disorder that occurs exclusively in adults and is characterized by muscle weakness and bone fragility. Women with vitamin D deficiency who have been through multiple pregnancies are at elevated risk of Osteomalacia.
- , a condition characterized by reduced and increased bone fragility.
May Support Eye Health
Vision loss is a huge health problem, affecting over 285 million people worldwide .
There are many reasons why people lose their vision, but two of the leading causes are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration .
Both of these diseases can result from chronic inflammation.
However, the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A in cod liver oil have been shown to protect against eye diseases caused by inflammation (
In one study in 3,502 people aged 55 and over, researchers found that people who consumed the most vitamin A had a much lower risk of glaucoma than those who ate the least vitamin A .
Although vitamin A is great for eye health, its not recommended to take high doses of it, as it may cause vitamin A toxicity.
Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 and vitamin A, both of which may protect against vision loss from inflammatory eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration .
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Should Everyone Get Their Vitamin D Levels Checked Generally No
Karl Insogna, MD, director of Yale Medicines Bone Center
Most people should be fine. Testing is important only for certain populations: for people who are institutionalized for patients with a gastrointestinal disorder or osteoporosis those who have had weight loss surgery those on anti-convulsant medications and children who are immobilized and not outside and active. If youre over 70, I recommend getting your levels checked at least one time.
People whose cultural or religious beliefs require them to be fully clothed, especially if theyre living in northern climates, and whose dietary habits include little or no dairy , may also be vitamin D-deficient and should be tested.
Benefits Of Vitamin D Risks Of D Deficiency
Vitamin D helps keep your bones strong by regulating calcium levels. Maintaining adequate amounts of the vitamin is essential for your bone health. People deficient in the vitamin can suffer symptoms including muscle aches, muscle weakness and bone pain. In severe cases, by reducing calcium absorption, deficiency can lead to slower growth, bone softening and weakened bone structure, increasing the risk of skeletal deformities, osteoporosis and fractures.
Studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D insufficiency. In fact, people who use sunscreen daily can maintain their vitamin D levels.
In recent years, the claims for vitamin D have gone further. Some proponents hypothesize that it does everything from decreasing cancer deaths and heart disease to inhibiting type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. However, these suggestions are based on observational studies alone. This means the researchers have observed that people with enough vitamin D have a lower incidence of and/or deaths from these diseases, but not that vitamin D is the reason they are lower. While observational studies may be a good starting point, they are not proof or a basis for medical recommendations.
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How Do Mushrooms Compare To Supplements
In 1999, researchers conducted one of the first head-to-head trials between vitamin D2 supplementation and wild chanterelles. The results showed that given the same doses of vitamin D, the mushrooms were equally capable of raising vitamin D levels as the supplements. This research has been repeated five times with similar success and studies have looked into mushrooms ability to promote bone health by delivering adequate vitamin D to animals. One of the most exciting studies involves a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in Europe that took place in the winter. They had the experimental group consume their vitamin D by means of 200 grams of irradiated mushrooms in a soup. They compared this to a placebo using non-irradiated mushrooms along with a group that received equal doses of a D2 supplement. The results again confirmed that mushrooms were able to continually raise serum vitamin D levels in the body consistent with vitamin D2 supplementation.
Healthy Foods That Are High In Vitamin D
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Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight.
However, up to 50% of the worlds population may not get enough sun, and 40% of U.S. residents are deficient in vitamin D .
This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside, and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.
The recommended daily value is 800 IU of vitamin D per day from foods .
If you dont get enough sunlight, your intake should likely be closer to 1,000 IU per day (
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What Happens If I Have Too Much Vitamin D
It is very rare to have too much vitamin D. If you have too much vitamin D the level of calcium in your blood may increase and this causes a condition known as hypercalcaemia, which can cause a number of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, tiredness, confusion, depression, headaches, muscle weakness, the need to pass urine more frequently and feeling thirsty. However, this condition is very rare.
Vitamin D And Diabetes Prevention
Another important function of vitamin D is its help in the prevention of diabetes. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in America. If you dont get enough vitamin D, you will have a lowered insulin resistance. This means the extra glucose in your bloodstream doesnt get used by your cells. By overcoming insulin resistance with healthy doses of vitamin D, you can potentially halt the development of type two diabetes in its tracks. Thus, preventing diabetes-related blindness.
Without vitamin D, you are at risk for developing these eye conditions and other health concerns. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a global issue that leads to more and more cases of AMD and other diseases. Its estimated that 50 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. This is a serious health concern that isnt given enough attention. Vitamin D deficiency leads to:
- Hight blood pressure
- Juvenile diabetes
Its especially important that infants and children get the recommended dose of vitamin D each day. Vitamin D deficiencies are dangerous for young eyes that are still developing. As adults, its important to be knowledgeable about how much vitamin D your doctor recommends, as well as where you can get it from.
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How Much Vitamin D Do You Really Get From The Sun
Quick Health Scoop
- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, aids in supporting healthy teeth and bones, and plays an important role in immune and muscle health
- 40% of the U.S. population have a blood level indicating Vitamin D deficiency
- You can get Vitamin D from three main sources: the sun, food, and supplements
- To avoid the damaging effects of the suns rays, many health experts recommend the best way to take Vitamin D is through food and supplements
Not many vitamins get a nickname, but Vitamin D does. Known as the sunshine vitamin, this key nutrient can be obtained by the body through sunlight exposure. But the obvious dilemma is, how do you balance getting enough Vitamin D through the sun with practicing sun-safe habits to protect the skin? How much Vitamin D do you get from the sun? And how long do you need to be in the sun to get Vitamin D?
First, understand why you need this key nutrient. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, provides a variety of health benefits. It helps your body absorb calciumone of the main building blocks of boneand plays an important role in immune and muscle health. ,1
Learn More: Vitamin D Immune System Benefits
With all this in mind, you might be wondering what is the best way to get Vitamin Dand how can you do so safely?
Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Vitamin D Vs D3
Vitamin D2 in prescription form is commonly covered by most commercial and Medicare insurance plans. The over-the-counter formulations are typically not covered by commercial or Medicare insurance plans. The price can vary greatly depending on dosage. The average cost of the 50,000 IU dose for 12 weeks of therapy is $47.99. With a coupon from SingleCare, this price drops to as low as $11.
Vitamin D3 is over-the-counter, and therefore is typically not covered by insurance plans. The price varies depending on dose. D3 can cost as $40 but if your doctor prescribes the medication you can get it for as low as $20 with a SingleCare discount coupon.
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What Are The Main Differences Between Vitamin D And D3
The term vitamin D is kind of a misnomer because you will not find anything labeled simply as vitamin D in a pharmacy vitamin aisle. Rather, your choices will be vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 . Generally, when one mentions vitamin D, the implied selection is vitamin D2. For the purpose of this article, when vitamin D is mentioned, it will refer to vitamin D2. The names can be confusing, because many times, patients go into the pharmacy looking for vitamin D and are surprised that there is a D2 and a D3.
Vitamin D comes from plant sources, such as wild mushrooms, as well as fortified foods, such as milk or cereal products. Its strength is typically measured in international units, which is abbreviated as IU on labeling. The 50,000 IU capsules are prescription only, while lower strengths are available over-the-counter. Vitamin D is less expensive to produce and therefore is the form most commonly found in fortified food products.
Vitamin D3 mainly comes from animal sources such as fish oil, fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D3. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Its strength is also measured in international units. All forms of vitamin D3 are available over-the-counter.
|Main differences between vitamin D and D3|
|Who typically uses the medication?||Infants, children, adolescents, and adults||Infants, children, adolescents, and adults|
Vitamin D Source: Food
Considering the above skin cancer concerns, what is the best way to absorb Vitamin D? Most people can get adequate amounts of Vitamin D from food and nutritional supplements.6
The bad news: only a few foods naturally contain Vitamin D, including the following:7
- Fatty fish and fish liver oils
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
The good news: eating Vitamin D-fortified foods can increase your intake of this nutrient.
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Vitamin D Source: Supplements
Besides eating Vitamin D-rich foods, taking a Vitamin D supplement could help you get the recommended amount in a sun-safe manner. Nature Made supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, softgels, and gummies. Doctors typically recommend supplements for people with darker skin tones or those with fat absorption issues, lactose intolerance, and milk allergies.6
Is It Possible To Get Enough Vitamin D On A Vegan Diet
According to certified clinical and integrative nutritionist Sunny Brigham, whose job is to help people transition to a plant-based lifestyle, its not possible to get enough vitamin D on a plant-based diet. But this isnt exclusive to vegans. For meat-eaters too, its hard to get enough vitamin D, Brigham notes. This is why plant-based vitamin D supplements are the way forward for her.
Not everyone shares Brighams view. Chirag Shah MD, the co-founder of Accesa Labs, which offers vitamin D testing, maintains it is possible to get enough Vitamin D on a plant-based dietif you eat enough mushrooms.
Shah explained to LIVEKINDLY, Mushrooms are thought to make vitamin D from a molecule called provitamin D2 with the help of the sun.She added, however, that people who are interested in tracking their vitamin D levels should consider getting a vitamin D blood test before adding some mushrooms to their diet.
David Barbour, the co-founder of wellness company Vivio Life Sciences, agrees with Shah. There are two main versions of vitamin D D2 and D3 is in animals. Living on a plant-based diet you should you eat mushrooms , fortified foods, and/or supplements,Barbour said.
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High In Vitamins A And D
Most cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod.
Cod liver oil has been used for centuries to relieve joint pain and treat rickets, a disease that causes fragile bones in children .
Although cod liver oil is a fish oil supplement, its quite different than regular fish oil.
Regular fish oil is extracted from the tissue of oily fish like tuna, herring, anchovies and mackerel, while cod liver oil is extracted from the livers of cod.
The liver is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D, which give it an impressive nutrient profile.
One teaspoon of cod liver oil provides the following :
- Calories: 40
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 890 mg
- Monounsaturated fat: 2.1 grams
- Vitamin A: 90% of the RDI
- Vitamin D: 113% of the RDI
Cod liver oil is incredibly nutritious, with a single teaspoon providing 90% of your daily requirements for vitamin A and 113% of your daily requirements for vitamin D.
Vitamin A has many roles in the body, including maintaining healthy eyes, brain function and skin .
Cod liver oil is also one of the best food sources of vitamin D, which has an important role in maintaining healthy bones by regulating calcium absorption .
Cod liver oil is very nutritious and provides nearly all of your daily requirements for vitamins A and D.