What You Need to Know About Vitamin D!

Posted on: October 10th, 2013 by Gregg Gittins 1 Comment

VITAMIN D OVERVIEW

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic, affecting an estimated 1 billion of the world’s population.

Most of us know the importance of vitamin D intake for strong, healthy bones. Even so, a resurgence of rickets, the childhood bone-weakening disease, has been seen in industrialized countries in recent years.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, vitamin D deficiency is of great concern because research conducted over the last decade, suggests that vitamin D plays a much broader disease-fighting role as was once thought. [Source]

WHAT is VITAMIN D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. There are two different supplemental forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3.

D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is the form made by mushrooms from exposure to sunlight, while D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the type that’s made in your skin from the sun or from fish consumption. Both D2 and D3 must be converted, ‘activated’ to the hormone calcitriol before they can be used by the body. Both forms can be manufactured for supplements; although the D3 is the one more commonly used.

The following study cites the reasons why D2 should no longer be used. [Source]

WHY is it IMPORTANT?

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for overall health; yet it’s most important, signature role is that of maintaining bone health (osteopenia & osteoporosis) and preventing childhood ricketts.

BEYOND BONE BUILDING

The crucial link between strong, healthy bones and vitamin D was made many years ago; however recent research suggests its importance in many other conditions, such as: colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, the flu, multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes to name just a few.

WHO IS AT RISK for VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

The following groups of people are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency –

  • People with naturally, dark skin. The melanin in their skin adversely affects UV penetration.
  • People with little or no sun exposure.
  • Breast-fed babies, as breast milk contains little vitamin D
  • People suffering from: celiac’s disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, obesity and renal disease
  • Older adults in nursing and retirement homes
  • Vegans (soy-based products, fortified with vitamin D, are possible options)

HOW MUCH do I NEED?

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines, the amount is dependent on a person’s age.  Following is an RDA and an upper-limit range:

  • Infants – Parents should consult with a pediatrician.
  • Children (1-3 years) 600-2500 IU daily
  • Children (4-8 years) 600-3000 IU daily
  • Persons (9-70 years) 600-4000 IU daily
  • Persons (70+) 800-4000 IU daily

NOTE: The very best way to determine your individual vitamin D needs is to have your doctor check your levels with a simple blood test called 25 – hydroxyvitamin D.  Serum levels below 50 ng/ml are considered to be deficient and the optimal range is 50 – 70 ng/ml.   In fact, should you be on higher doses of vitamin D (50,000 IU’s), for any length of time, you will want your doctor to regularly test your levels to avoid any type of toxicity issues.  An excess of vitamin D can result in the body absorbing too much calcium (hypercalcemia), which can lead to poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness, frequent urination, and kidney damage.

WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS?

There is no scientific evidence that taking vitamin D several times a day as opposed to once a day is advantageous. However, vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and as such is better absorbed when taken with a meal containing fat. For most people that would be the largest meal of the day.

A study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, found that by taking your vitamin D3 with the largest meal of the day, absorption was significantly improved with results showing about a 50% increase in serum levels. [Source]

WHERE SHOULD I GET my VITAMIN D FROM?

Vitamin D comes from two places: sunlight exposure and from the foods and supplements we ingest.

SUN – Five to 30 minutes of sun, on the arms and legs, twice weekly is often all a person requires for proper vitamin D production. However , this is only applicable to certain times of the year, at certain latitudes, under certain conditions.  Prolonged sun exposure has its own inherent risks.

FOOD – Sources include:  Cod liver oils and other fish liver oils, fatty fish i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna (wild caught NOT farm raised – this may be due to the fact that vitamin D is readily available in the food chain, for wild-caught fish, but not available in the pellet diet fed to farmed fish), cheese, egg yolks, beef and liver contain small amounts, fortified foods, such as: breakfast cereals, orange juice and milk.

SUPPLEMENTATION:  Sources of vitamin D are not so plentiful and it is recommended that you consider vitamin D supplementation. Here are a couple of top brands for your review:   Thorne Vitamin D’s and Metagenics Vit D’sHere is a link to our complete selection of Vitamin D supplements.

 

 

Our top pick is...
Vitamin D by Thorne

Utilizing pure, hypoallergenic ingredients, Thorne Research offers three unique levels of dosing to meet your own individual needs.  Thorne formulas conveniently range from a maintenance dosing level of D – 5000 (IU’s) all the way up to D – 10,000 (IU’s) and D – 25000 (IU’s).

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic, affecting an estimated 1 billion of the world’s population.

Most of us know the importance of vitamin D intake for strong, healthy bones. Even so, a resurgence of rickets, the childhood bone-weakening disease, has been seen in industrialized countries in recent years.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, Vitamin D deficiency is of great concern because research conducted over the last decade, suggests that vitamin D plays a much broader disease-fighting role as was once thought.

What is Vitamin D?
What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. There are two different supplemental forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3.

D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is the form made by mushrooms from exposure to sunlight, while D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the type that’s made in your skin from the sun or from fish consumption. Both D2 & D3 must be converted, ‘activated’ to the hormone calcitriol before they can be used by the body.

Both forms can be manufactured for supplements; although the D3 is the one more commonly used.

Why is it important?
Why is it important?

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for overall health; yet it’s most important, signature role is that of maintaining bone health (osteopenia & osteoporosis) and preventing childhood ricketts.

Beyond bone building
Beyond bone building

The crucial link between strong, healthy bones and vitamin D was made many years ago; however recent research suggests its importance in many other conditions, such as: colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, the flu, multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes to name just a few.

Who is at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?
Who is at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?

The following groups of people are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency –

• People with naturally, dark skin, the melanin in their skin adversely affects UV penetration

• People with little or no sun exposure

• Breast-fed babies, as breast milk contains little Vitamin D

• People suffering from: Celiac’s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, obesity and Renal Disease

• Older adults in nursing and retirement homes

• Vegans (soy-based products fortified with vitamin D are possible options)

How much do I need?
How much do I need?

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines, the amount is dependent on a person’s age. Following is an RDA and an upper-limit range:

• Infants – Parents should consult with a pediatrician.

• Children (1-3 years) 600-2500 IU daily

• Children (4-8 years) 600-3000 IU daily

• Persons (9-70 years) 600-4000 IU daily

• Persons (70+) 800-4000 IU daily

NOTE: The very best way to determine your individual vitamin D needs is to have your doctor check your levels with a simple blood test.

When should I take my Vitamin D supplements?
When should I take my Vitamin D supplements?

There is no scientific evidence that taking Vitamin D several times a day as opposed to once a day is advantageous. However, Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and as such is better absorbed when taken with a meal containing fat. For most people that would be the largest meal of the day.

A study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, found that by taking your vitamin D3 with the largest meal of the day, absorption was significantly improved with results showing about a 50% increase in serum levels.

Where should I get my Vitamin D from?
Where should I get my Vitamin D from?

We get our Vitamin D from three places:

The sun: five to thirty minutes of sun on the arms and legs, twice weekly is often all a person requires for proper Vitamin D production. However, this is only applicable to certain times of the year, at certain latitudes, under certain conditions.

and….

 

Our Food Sources
Our Food Sources

Sources include: Fish liver oils, fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna (wild caught NOT farm raised – this may be due to the fact that vitamin D is readily available in the food chain, for wild-caught fish, but not available in the pellet diet fed to farmed fish), cheese, egg yolks, beef and liver contain small amounts, fortified foods, such as: breakfast cereals, orange juice and milk.

Supplementation
Supplementation

Sources of vitamin D are not so plentiful and it is recommended that you consider vitamin D supplementation. Here are a couple of top brands for your review: Thorne Vitamin D’s and Metagenics Vit D’s . Here is a link to our complete selection of Vitamin D supplements.

 

We hope this slide show was helpful and informative. Should you have questions, or suggestions, please feel free to fill out our Ask the Doctor form found at the Doctors Corner.

REFERENCES:

Serum vitamin D concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Vijay Ganji, Cristiana Milone, Mildred M Cody, Frances McCarty and Yong T Wang International Archives of Medicine 2010, 3:29 doi:10.1186/1755-7682-3-29. Website: http://www.intarchmed.com/content/3/1/29
 
Vitamin D: An Evidence-Based Review Teresa Kulie, MD, Amy Groff, DO, Jackie Redmer, MD, MPH, Jennie Hounshell, MD and Sarina Schrager, MD, MS Corresponding author: Sarina Schrager, MD, MS, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 777 S. Mills St., Madison, WI 53715. Website: http://www.jabfm.org/content/22/6/698.full
 
The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement Lisa A Houghton and Reinhold Vieth 2006 American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Website: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full
 
Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Mulligan GB, Licata A. Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20200983
 
Vitamin D and Health The Nutrition Source | Harvard School of Public Health. Website: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/#vitamin-d-deficiency-a-global-concern
 
VITAMIN D AND THE HEART Gardner DG, Chen S, Glenn DJ. University of California at San Francisco. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24026071
 
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of multiple sclerosis. Munger KL, Levin LI, Hollis BW, Howard NS, Ascherio A. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, and Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass 02115, USA. JAMA. 2006 Dec 20;296(23):2832-8. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17179460
 
Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Garland CF, Garland FC. Int J Epidemiol. 1980 Sep;9(3):227-31. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7440046
 
Vitamin D supplementation in early childhood and risk of type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Zipitis CS, Akobeng AK. Department of Paediatrics, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Poplar Grove, Stockport SK2 7JE, UK. Arch Dis Child. 2008 Jun;93(6):512-7. doi: 10.1136/adc.2007.128579. Epub 2008 Mar 13. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18339654
 
The role of season in the epidemiology of influenza. Hope-Simpson RE. J Hyg (Lond). 1981 Feb;86(1):35-47. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7462597
 
Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Atascadero State Hospital, 10333 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422, USA. jcannell@dmhash.state.ca.usEpidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40. Epub 2006 Sep 7. Website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16959053
 
WHAT IS VITAMIN D TOXICITY, AND SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT IT SINCE I TAKE SUPPLEMENTS  Zeratsky, Katherine R.D., L.D.  Nutrition and healthy eating. Website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-d-toxicity/faq-20058108

One Response

  1. […] Another option includes your non-dairy food sources; although you will need to be very vigilant if you wish to meet your daily calcium and vitamin D requirements.  Read article: Vitamin D Deficiency. […]

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