Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that has a hormone like action. It is synthesized at the skin during sun exposure, and also can be consumed from various foods. Vitamin D is crucial for bone and teeth health. Also recent studies have highlighted many other health properties of this vitamin. It seems that helps the immune system and its lack is linked to health conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, hypertension and many more.

Foods with vitamin D

  Foods rich in vitamin D are salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolk, enriched milk products and cereals. If daily nutritional needs cannot be covered through the diet, a dietary supplement may be beneficial.

Vitamin D forms

   There are two main forms available in nutritional supplements: ergocalciferol (D2) and cholicalciferol (D3). Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin D and can increase body levels more easily. Vitamin D can be found in tables, capsules, drops, spray.

Requirements and dosage

   Vitamin D requirements depend on daily nutrition, sun exposure, skin color, health status and of the presence of lack or adequacy. For adults daily intake of 800 IU (International Units) are required in combination with consumption of fish. For older adults may need more vitamin D. The American Pediatric Association recommends in are exclusive breastfeeding infant to take 400 IU of vitamin D daily. This dosage is also recommended for all children and adolescents with an inadequate nutrition. Adults that lack the vitamin, must take at least 2000 IU daily.

Vitamin D and health

Bones

   Vitamin D is essential for bones because is basic action is to increase calcium absorption. Also the vitamin is essential for rickets, osteoporosis and osteomalacia prevention. Also taking vitamin D in adequate levels is crucial for fracture prevention in older adults.

Immune system

   Recent studies have shown that adults with low vitamin D levels in the blood are more prone to cold and flu. Thus this vitamin is linked to a healty immune system. Other conditions that are associated with vitamin D inadequacy are auto-immune diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

Cardiovascular system

   Vitamin D helps preventing heart and vessels conditions such as hypertension and high cholesterol. Also reduces cardiovascular risk.

Other

   Vitamin D is beneficial in many health states, such as obesity, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, reaumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.

Normal levels

   A blood test named 25 (OH) D3 must be performed in order to check vitamin D serum levels in the body. Values >30 ng/ml are normal, but values lower that 10 < ng/ml indicate inadequacy and can be linked to bone problems.

Lack

   Conditions that can be cause by vitamin D lack low calcium and phosphorus levels, rickets in children, osteomalacia, increased fracture incidence in older adults. Lack symptoms include fatigue, cramps, joint pain. Who can lack vitamin D?

  • Individuals with dark skin color.
  • Individuals not exposed to sun such as the elderly
  • Individuals that use to much sun screen
  • Patients with obesity, chronic kidney disease, liver failure, Crown’s disease, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis.

Contra-indications

   Vitamin D is safe when used at required levels. Most individuals will not have any side effecta, unless in cases if hyper-dosage. Side effects of vitamin D hyper-dosage incluse fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Do not take more than 4000 IU daily without medical supervision.

   During pregnancy and lactation vitamin D intake is safe but medical supervision is essential. Individuals with atherosclerosis, renal diseases, hyperparathyroidism and lymphoma, and also those on medications such as verapamil, diuretics and anticoagulants, must not take any supplement with vitamin D.