Also known as calciferol, ergocalciferol
or D3, evidence
clearly indicates that the general population is not getting enough of
it. In fact, our indoor lifestyle (for example, surfing the
internet and playing on the XBox) means that we no longer get
sufficient amount for our body's needs from sun light exposure.
Very simple. Take
1,000 IU daily along with sufficient
calcium intake. That's
you are not doing this for just your bones. It's for the health of your
Deficiencies (or insufficiencies) in important vitamins such as vitamin
D (Vit D) may
responsible for many of diseases that are seen in society today. The
best and most reliable source of vitamin D is through taking a
supplement. Buy it and take it. Vitamin D supplements are incredibly
people are not getting sufficient vitamin D. In our pharmacy practice,
we are recommending practically all healthy adults to
IU daily of vitamin D along with sufficient calcium of 1,200 mg (from
dietary sources and/or supplements).
daily intake of Vit D is required to prevent osteoporosis (along
with calcium). Vit D is required for the body to absorb calcium. Taking
calcium with Vit D will help prevent bone loss and to heal broken bones.
(softening of the bones)
This vitamin D is effective when taken to prevent osteomalacia caused
disease, digestive and absorption problems or certain drug use (such as
Falls in Adults
is evidence that taking Vit D reduce falls in adults by 22%. Calcium by
itself does not show this benefit; it is the combination of this
calcium that helps. Experts do not think it is because of the increase
in bone strength and mass that are responsible for this.
Dosage of 1,000 IU daily is safe to use and is currently recommended
by experts for male and female adults.
research shows that this vitamin has anti-cancer benefits. For example,
it has been shown to stop the growth of prostate cancer cells
in a lab
setting and in population
Also, research studies show that 800 IU/day of Vit D and 1800 mg/day of
seems to prevent and treat colorectal cancer.
shows that it significantly lowers cancer risk in healthy
postmenopausal women. Also epidemiological (population) studies clearly
show that men with high levels have a reduced risk of
cancer as listed:
Well-designed clinical research studies will be required to find out
the exact benefits in reducing cancer risks.
- 17% reduction in all types of cancer
- 43% reduction in stomach and intestine
- 25% reduction in deaths due to cancer
Bronchitis / Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
studies seem to suggest that people with higher levels of Vit D in
the blood have a lower risk of having lower lung function. Researchers
suspect that Vit D is involved in repairing lung tissues and
decreasing inflammation in the lungs.
|Allergies / Hay Fever|
levels of Vit D is associated with an increased chance of developing
allergies. This vitamin plays an important role in regulating the
immune system. And allergies is a condition where the immune sytem is
overreactive to otherwise harmless substances.
||Prevention of Flu (Influenza) in Children
A study showed that Japanese shool-aged children taking this 1,200 IU
daily of vit D during the winter flu season reduce the number of cases
of influenza type A (and not type B) infections.
Low Sperm Motility
In both animal and human subjects, low blood levels of this vitamin seem to impair sperm motility as well to as cause higher numbers of abnormally shaped sperm cells.
See increasing sperm motility and boosting fertility with this vitamin for the research studies.
study showed that older men and women with lower levels of vitamin D
seem to be more likely to develop depression as they aged. (See this news release).
Type 2 Diabetes
One study showed that by using a dose of 2,000 IU daily of this vitamin for 4 months, diabetic patients improved the function of their pancreas by 24%.
See Vitamin D for Diabetes for the results from this study.
studies show that people with lower levels of Vit D seems to be
more likely to develop type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes).
infants taking this vitamin during their first year of life seem to
have reduced risk of getting type 1 diabetes later on
are disagreements in research studies on the benefit of Vit D in
preventing breast cancer. Some show benefits and other show no effects.
In lab studies, Vit D is shown to slow down the growth of cancerous
There is no well-designed studies to show if
Vit D can prevent breast cancer although experts have reasons to
believe that it may be helpful.
studies point to reduced risk of having RA when intake of Vit D is
greater. However, there are no clinical studies to suggest
taking Vit D would help prevent or treat those people suffering
See Vitamin D for Rheumatoid Arthritis for the ressults from studies.
See Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis for supplements to treat this condition.
Affective Disorder (SAD)
is a type of depression that people experience during the dark winter
months. The typical treatment involves exposing the individual to
bright light from an artificial source.
There is some evidence that people with SAD can benefit from taking Vit
studies seems to show MS is more common in areas where there is less
sunlight and that the people eat less fish (a good source of Vit D).
Higher levels of Vit D reduce the risk of MS by 40%.
However, there are no studies to suggest that taking Vit D
would help prevent or treat those people suffering from MS.
seem to suggest that Vit D prevents damage of the cartilage. Low
level of Vit D is linked to a higher risk of getting arthritis.
However, there are no studies to suggest that taking Vit D would
help those with arthritis.
Research studies suggest a link between taking more Vit D from diet
and the reduced risk of getting PMS.
studies suggest that low levels of Vit D is linked to a higher risk
of hypertension. However, there are no studies to suggest that taking
Vit D would lower blood pressure.
Cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia / Hypertriglyceridemia)
studies suggest that lower levels of Vit D is linked to a higher
risk of having high cholesterol. However, there are no studies to
suggest that taking Vit D would lower high cholesterol.
(hardening of the arteries)
evidence seems to suggest that no getting enough Vit D might
increase the risk of calcium deposits in the arteries (which leads to
heart attack or stroke). However, there are no studies to
suggest that taking Vit D would prevent atherosclerosis.
studies suggest the fact that lower levels of Vit D intake is
associated with higher risk of obesity. Other studies suggest that
women taking calcium plus Vit D are more likely to lose weight or to
keep the same weight.
studies suggest that your body weight and percentage of body fat
decreases with increased level of 25-hydroxy Vit D (calcidiol) levels.
discovered that people with psoriasis seems to have lower levels of Vit
D. However, there are no studies to suggest that taking Vit D would
help with psoriasis.
A prescription synthetic Vit D3 cream (Dovonex /
calcipotriene) is used to treat plaque psoriasis.
Section (C-Section) Risk Reduction
one study involving 253 women, 28 percent of the women has C-section
with low serum levels compared to only 14 percent with higher serum
"In our analysis,
women who were Vit D deficient at the time of delivery had almost four
the odds of caesarean birth than women who were not deficient," said
lead author Michael Holick, MD, PhD.
Reduction in Dying
analysis of previously completed research studies (meta-analysis)
turned up an interesting discovery. Vit D seems to significantly
reduce death by 7% in healthy middle-ages adults who are at a
higher risk of bone fractures. They adults were taking between 300 and
2,000 IU daily of Vit D.
recent study involving 13,000 men and women followed for eight and a
half year showed that inadequate Vit D increased their risk of
death by 26%.
small bones in the inner ear needs to be healthy to properly conduct
sound waves. Since many adults have been shown to be low in this
vitamin, the bone may have weaken, causing hearing loss.
This vitamin would be helpful in treating this type of hearing loss.
about Vitamin D
is vitamin D?
is fat-soluble vitamin. There
are several forms of vitamin D, but the most common forms are vitamin D2
(ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3
(cholecalciferol). The term "vitamin D" refers to both these forms.
The body cannot produce Vit D2,
thus we must get it from our diet (from fungal or plant sources). The
body can produce Vit D3 on the skin
upon exposure to ultraviolet (UV) B rays from the sun.
Studies suggest that D3 is more potent
than D2 in our body.
Both D2 and D3 are
considered to be prohormone as they are not active until they are
The chemistry of vitamin metabolism is complex. D2 and D3
are converted by the liver to calcidiol (25-hydroxy Vit D) and
stored until needed. This is the form that testing lab will
for (the best measure of Vit D levels in our system).
Then calcidiol is converted by the kidney to calcitriol, the
biologically active form
of Vit D.
1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25(OH)2D3 or
Chemical formula of calcitriol
does Vitamin D do in our body?
receptors exist on most cells of our body and thus serves to modulate
or regulate various functions such as:
- Promote calcium absorption in the intestine
- Promote absorption of calcium into the bone
- Regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in the
- Prevention of osteoporosis (along with adequate
- Modulate muscle function
- Modulate the immune system
- Regulate cell growth and differentiation
levels of Vitamin D?
There is debate over what is a suitable level for Vit D in our body.
Below is a table listing what the expert currently agree on.
||Insufficient for health in adults
for maintaining health in adults
(but more evidence will be required from additional research studies)
excessive and may be toxic.
Animal studies show that 400 ng/mL (1000 nmol/L) was safe.
lab blood test considers 19 to 95 mg/mL (50 to 250 nmol/L)
as a normal range for serum levels in a healthy adult. However, that
might possibly change with future research studies.
test for vitamin D is no usually done by your family physician and most
medical labs do not routinely test for vitamin D deficiency.
Benefits and Traditional Uses
- atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- breast cancer
- cancer (general risk reduction)
- caesarean section (C-section) prevention
- colorectal cancer
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
(type 1 and type 2)
- enhance immune functions
- hearing loss
blood pressure (hypertension)
- hypoparathyroidism (lower parathyroid gland
- insulin resistance
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- muscle weakness and spasm
- Obesity prevention
- osteomalacia (softening of the bone)
- premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- preventing bone fractures
- preventing falls
- prevention of osteoporosis
- prevention of rickets
- rickets (and Vit D resistant rickets)
- rheumatoid arthritis
- scleroderma (hardening of the skin and certain
- seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- skin cancer
- weight loss / obesity
and Symptoms of Deficiency
- Softening and weakening of the bones in children. This is a very rare
condition today as milk products are fortified with Vit D. It is
still a common childhood disease in many developing countries.
- Softening and weakening of the bones in adults. (This condition is
termed rickets if it happens in children.)
Risk If You Are Deficient
- Not getting Vit D may increase your risk of developing the
following conditions. However, if you suffer from one or more of the
health ailments listed below, it does not necessarily mean that you are
low in Vit D.
- Mood swings
- Muscle and bone pain and weakness
- Heart disease
- Poor immune function
- Weight gain
- Insomnia / sleeping problems
can cause vitamin D deficiency?
Here is a list of possible causes:
- Insufficient dietary intake of Vit D rich
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Limited or no exposure to sunlight
- Use of certain prescription and
- Duodenal Switch (DS) surgery
- LAP BAND surgery
- Other gastric bypass (GBP) surgery
Effects, Toxicity and Warnings
Vitamin D is safe to use at all ages in appropriate doses.
There are very few side effects of Vit D when taken in appropriate
Excess Vit D occurs when you take too much supplement but this is rare. It is
that you to ever get too much Vit D from sunlight exposure or from food
Listed below are some toxicity symptoms from taking too much of Vit D:
toxicity may occur in doses of 50,000 IU daily if taken for several months.
- Muscle pain and problems
- Poor appetite / no appetite
- Weight loss
- Skin rash or itch
- Fatigue / tiredness / sleepiness
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Bone pain
- Hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood)
- Decreased growth in children
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
The use of ultra-high dose is reserved for very specialized or
conditions only and blood levels must be done regularly to avoid
toxicity. Direct medical supervision is required when taking this
vitamin at this or other high dosages.
- This vitamin is very safe when used in appropriate amounts along with
sufficient calcium and
magnesium intake (either from supplements or from dietary sources). It
is as safe to use during pregnancy and when a woman is breastfeeding
Naturally rich sources of Vit D are not common. The following food
sources contain high amounts of Vit D.
|Cold liver oil
||1 tablespoon / 15 mL
||3 & 1/2 ounce
||3 & 1/2 ounce
||1 egg yolk
40 IU Vit D equals 1 mcg (microgram).
Vegetables is not a good source of Vit D. Mushroom contains about 26 IU
per half a cup.
Practically all multivitamins contain some amount of Vit D.
What about getting vitamin D from
Sunlight exposure of the skin generates sufficient Vit D for most
people. 45 minutes of sunlight exposure to the face and arms
usually enough for a fair-skinned person. A person with a darker skin
might need 2-3 hours.
The body stores Vit D in the fat tissue for use when there is no
amount of sunlight exposure various significantly depending on weather
(e.g. clouds and smog), clothing worn and the use of sunscreen.
Also, cloudy skies block UV energy by up to 50% and UVB
rays do not penetrate through glass.
is strong evidence that people are suffering from insufficient Vit D,
even in Canada and northern parts of US. As well, the elderly are at a
risk of suffering from lower Vit D levels.
The use of sunscreen significantly reduces Vit D production by
Moreover, exposure to sunlight increases
your risk of developing skin cancer and prematurely ages your skin.
There is no agreement on what is the appropriate balance between the
length sun exposure needed for producing Vit D and the risk a
person would face from too much exposure.
sun exposure is the best source for vitamin D, the risk of excessive
sun exposure must be considered. Also, the amount and intensity of the
sunlight is so different from place to place, day to day and month to
month. It is difficult to know if you are getting enough.
& How to Take It
The dosages listed below are the suggested requirements by our body as
established by experts. Vit D is available as a tablets, liquid
drops and injections.
Dosage up to 2,000
IU daily is safe for people over 18 years of age.
The upper limits (UL) is 2,000 IU daily.
take sufficient amounts of calcium and magnesium (1,200 to 1,400 mg of
calcium daily). High levels of Vit D in the absence of enough
calcium intake will cause calcium to come out of the bone (a process
- Infants to
children up to 18 years old require 200 IU daily.
- Adults up to 50 years old require 400 IU daily.
- Pregnancy women require 400 IU daily.
- People over 50 years old / elderly - 600 IU
Related Articles and Resources
Vitamin D Overdose - How Much is Too Much?
Does Taking Vit D prevent flu?
Does Taking Vit D help with depression?
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