Vitamin D: Benefits, Dosage and Risks
Table of Contents
Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health, heart disease prevention, and a wide range of other conditions. A recent study found that vitamin D levels were highest during the summer months but also prevalent year-round for those who spend time outside. Experts recommend getting your daily dose from sunlight or supplements to ensure you are getting enough calcium and phosphorus, which aid in healthy bones.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to affect a large number of individuals, ranging from 50 percent to upwards of 90 percent depending on race and geography. It’s no surprise that vitamin D has become one of the most popular supplements, yet you may be wondering how much vitamin D you should take. It’s a hard subject, but getting enough of this crucial vitamin is critical.
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious concern, since this nutrient has been found to improve health by assisting in the absorption of minerals such as calcium, enhancing immunological function, supporting growth and development, and much more. You’re more prone to get vitamin D deficiency symptoms if you spend little time outside in the sun, have dark skin, are over the age of 70, or reside in northern parts of the globe where there is less sunlight year-round.
You may be thinking, “How much vitamin D should I take?” when it comes to enjoying the various advantages of vitamin D. If you’re already lacking in vitamin D, your diet, age, health condition, where you reside, and other variables all influence the quantity of vitamin D you should take in supplement form. As you can see, determining how much vitamin D I should take isn’t always straightforward.
Vitamin D’s Functions
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has a variety of activities in the body, including:
- Calcium absorption aids in the prevention of fractures, bone loss, and other bone problems.
- Keeping blood sugar levels in check and insulin secretion in check
- Blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation are all things that need to be controlled.
- Controlling parathyroid hormone release
- By minimizing protracted or severe inflammatory reactions, the immune system is aided.
- Boosting brain function and avoiding mood disorders like sadness and SAD
- Controlling the synthesis of sex hormones, especially testosterone levels
- Nerve and muscle function improvement
- Influencing cell differentiation and tumor formation to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer.
Vitamin D is unusual in that it is produced by our bodies when we are exposed to the sun rather than being obtained from meals. When UV-B sunlight rays strike the skin, a molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin is actually transformed into vitamin D3.
Vitamin D seems to help protect against various symptoms and disorders, including illness of the heart, cancer, diabetes, bone loss, and depression.
Vitamin D insufficiency, on the other hand, has been linked to an elevated risk of a variety of common health problems. According to scientific research and analyses, almost 1 billion individuals worldwide are vitamin D deficient. Symptoms of vitamin D insufficiency have been related to the following health issues:
- heart disease
- blood pressure that is too high
- Autoimmune conditions
- persistent discomfort
- infectious illnesses
When is Vitamin D Increase Required?
If any of the following apply to you, your vitamin D need will increase:
- You already know you’re vitamin D deficient.
- You have a dark complexion.
- You’re a senior citizen above the age of 70. (since the production of vitamin D from the skin decreases with age). Vitamin D deficiency may affect infants, children, and the elderly.
- You either don’t spend much time outside or always use sunscreen when you do.
- You’re a shift worker, a health-care worker, or another kind of “interior job,” which means you don’t receive much outside time or exposure to sunshine.
- You’re obese or overweight (since vitamin D can accumulate in body fat)
- You are a patient at a nursing home or in a hospital.
- You have a health condition that prevents vitamin D absorption and processing in the intestines, kidneys, or liver, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or cystic fibrosis.
- Vitamin D insufficiency is also a problem for breast-fed newborns, which is why supplementation is advised.
Optimal Vitamin D Blood Levels
A blood test called a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test may be ordered by your doctor to determine whether you are vitamin D deficient.
- Vitamin D levels should be more than 20 nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL) of blood, indicating that you are not deficient in vitamin D.
- A vitamin D level of 50 ng/mL or above suggests that you need to supplement with vitamin D, spend more time in the sun, and eat more vitamin D-rich foods while, 30–50 ng/mL shows that you need to supplement with vitamin D, spend more time in the sun, and eat more vitamin D-rich foods.
- Vitamin D insufficiency, often known as “subclinical” deficiency, is considered to be fairly frequent. It’s characterized as a vitamin D level that’s lower than normal but doesn’t show any indications or symptoms. Vitamin D deficiency is indicated by levels below 30 ng/mL.
- If your level is less than 20 to 30 ng/mL, you are severely deficient and should take urgent steps to raise it.
- On the other hand, anything beyond 200–240 ng/mL of blood is termed vitamin D toxicity (too much vitamin D in the blood).
Vitamin D Requirements for Specific Conditions
Lack of Vitamin D
If a blood test reveals that you’re deficient in vitamin D, you may boost your levels by taking lesser amounts over time, such as 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day, or by taking a large dosage over many weeks. The Endocrine Society advises consuming at least 1,500–2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for those with low levels.
If you take an extremely high amount of vitamin D all at once, such as more than 40,000 IU, you may have adverse effects related to “vitamin D toxicity.” If you are seriously deficient or have a very low level according to a blood test, the best thing to do is speak to your doctor about supplementing with larger dosages of vitamin D.
Low vitamin D levels have been associated to depression in certain studies, however this does not suggest that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. Rather, it’s thought that those who don’t spend enough time outdoors or consume vitamin D-rich foods are more prone to get depressed. Vitamin D doses in depression studies have ranged from 600 international units per day (the normal guideline) to 4,000 international units per day.
To lose weight
Vitamin D supplementation does not guarantee weight reduction, although vitamin D deficiency has been related to an increased risk of obesity. According to researchers, Vitamin D may help prevent obesity in a variety of ways, including by modulating hormones and neurotransmitters such as hunger hormones, serotonin, and testosterone. Maintaining appropriate vitamin D levels in the blood should be the objective, which includes taking at least 600 IU daily and perhaps greater doses (5,000 to 6,000 IU/day) if necessary.
How Much Vitamin D Should I Get from the Sun?
Many individuals ask how much vitamin D they should take as well as how much vitamin D they should obtain from the sun.
Vitamin D is referred regarded as “the sunshine vitamin” for a reason. The greatest approach to obtain adequate vitamin D is to expose our skin to sunlight. Unfortunately, most individuals nowadays do not get enough sun exposure owing to reasons such as spending long hours inside, living in cold climes, fear of sunburns, and so on.
It’s important to step outdoors and expose your skin to sunshine without sunscreen in order to acquire adequate vitamin D from the sun. Spend 10–20 minutes in the sun each day, exposing as much of your naked skin as possible, to help your body manufacture vitamin D. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., you will absorb the maximum sunshine.
Melanin is a pigment that determines how pale or dark your skin is. The amount of melanin in your skin influences how much vitamin D you can create; thus, the fairer your skin, the easier it is to manufacture vitamin D. If you have dark skin, you’ll need to spend more time in the sun to get adequate vitamin D, perhaps 40 to 60 minutes each day.
Vitamin D-rich foods, such as eggs, raw milk, and fish, may also help you boost your vitamin D levels in your blood.
Dosage & Sources
If you’re wondering how much vitamin D you should take, here are some basic guidelines:
- Children under the age of five: It is normally safe to consume up to 35 units per pound each day.
- Approximately 400 IU per day for children aged 5–10. It is normally safe to consume up to 2,500 units each day.
- Adults, pregnant women, and women who are breast-feeding: 600–800 IU per day. It is safe to consume up to 5,000 units each day.
- Males should have 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D each day, according to the normal prescription. Persons over the age of 70 should supplement with at least 800 IU per day, while younger adults need at least 600 IU per day.
Vitamin D supplements come in two forms: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) (vitamin D3).
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the kind of vitamin D that our bodies naturally produce. Although the body can convert some D2, a synthetic version of vitamin C, to be utilized for physiological functions, our systems still prefer to use vitamin D3. D3 supplements, which are more absorbable than D2 (or ergocalciferol), are generated from animal products that include cholesterol and are pretty similar to the sort we manufacture ourselves.
A standard guideline for persons with normal vitamin D levels is to take 800 international units of vitamin D each day. This amount may be sufficient to keep your levels in the normal range, but other studies show that many individuals will need greater doses.
Is taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day safe? According to research, consuming roughly 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily poses minimal danger, although some individuals may benefit from a greater or lower dose depending on their health situation. Some health authorities, however, advise consuming no more than 4,000 IU per day for a lengthy period of time, despite evidence showing that 10,000 IU per day generates no ill effects. With such a wide range, it might be challenging to determine the optimum answer for how much vitamin D I should take.
Side Effects and Risks
When you take a lot of vitamin D, your liver generates a molecule called 25(OH)D, which causes calcium to build up in your circulation. When you take large vitamin D levels for an extended length of time, you’re more prone to develop symptoms of too much vitamin D. When 25(OH) becomes too high, this might have negative consequences.
High blood calcium levels, tiredness, stomach discomfort, and digestive difficulties such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or lack of appetite; increased thirst and dry mouth; and even kidney stones are all possible adverse effects. Avoiding vitamin D toxicity by taking extremely high doses of vitamin D in supplement form, such as 10,000 IU per day for many days at a time, is the best approach to prevent it. Instead, acquire your vitamin D from sunshine, a balanced diet, and supplements taken in the proper dose range.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to take vitamin D daily?
A. Yes, as long as you don’t take more than 5,000–10,000 IU every day.
Is it better to take vitamin D first thing in the morning or last thing at night?
A. While taking vitamin D pills with a meal may aid absorption, there is no convincing proof that supplements perform better at certain times. Some studies recommend taking vitamin D first thing in the morning to avoid any sleep-disrupting adverse effects.
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