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Some questions commonly asked about Vitamin D3

Updated: Jul 24, 2021




Where can you get vitamin D?

Vitamin D also is known as the sunshine vitamin is produced by the body when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in few foods which include fish, fish liver oil, egg yolks and in few fortified dairy and grain products. 


The truth about Vitamin D: How much vitamin D is needed by you? 

In the year 2010, The expert committee that represented the institute of medicine’s had set a new dietary reference intake for vitamin D.

The committee of the institute of medicine set its recommendations based on the assumption that the person is unable to get Vitamin D from the sunshine and that this person gets adequate amounts of calcium.

The committee's recommendation includes getting the following amounts of vitamin D from diet or supplements taking into consideration the fact that the upper limit is not a recommended intake, but what has considered the highest safe level is the recommended amount for vitamin D. 

* Infants ( age 0-6 months): The adequate intake of vitamin D for this category is, 400 IU/day; with safe upper level of intake being 1,000 IU/day

* Infants ( age 6 to 12 months): The adequate intake is specified as 400 IU/day and the maximum safe upper level of intake for this category is 1,500 IU/day

* Age (1-3 year): The adequate intake for this category is of 600 IU/day and the maximum safe upper level of intake is 2,500 IU/day

* Age (4-8 years): adequate intake of vitamin D is 600 IU/day, 3,000 IU/day being the maximum safe upper-level limit for intake

* Age (9-70): This category required an adequate intake of 600 IU/day of vitamin D, The maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day

* Age (71+ years): The adequate intake is 800 IU/day and the maximum safe upper level of intake of vitamin D is 4,000 IU/day


According to Boston University, this recommended amount is not enough. Michael Holick a professor of medicine at Boston University Medical center  recommends a dose of 1,000 IU a day of vitamin D for both infants and adults unless they're getting plenty of safe sun exposure.

The American Academy in 2008 doubled its recommendation for 400 IU of vitamin D for breastfed infants. They have also recommended 400 IU/day of vitamin D for children and teens who drink less than a quart of vitamin D-fortified milk per day. 

The Vitamin D Council has recommended an intake of 2000 IU of vitamin D daily for healthy adults. They are recommendation is higher for those who get little or no sun exposure.

There has been evidence that claims that people with a lot of body fat need more vitamin D than lean people.


What are the symptoms and health risks associated with Vitamin D deficiency? 

Bone pain and muscle weakness are the most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. However, these symptoms are subtle for many people. Despite these symptoms being subtle, too little vitamin D can pose health risks.

Few of the symptoms are listed below - 

* Fatigue and Tiredness

* Bone pain

* Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.

* Mood changes, like depression

Severe deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets, which can be seen in children as incorrect growth patterns, muscle weakness, joint deformities and pain in bones. Vitamin D deficiency is not as obvious in adults, and thus one should regularly keep a check.


Research has proven that vitamin D could be useful for the prevention and treatment of several different conditions, including hypertension, glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with the following health problems: 

* Higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease

* Severe asthma in children

* Cognitive impairment in older adults

* Cancer

* Heart disease and high blood pressure  

* Diabetes 

* Infections and immune system disorders

* Multiple sclerosis 

* Increased frequency of sickness or infections 

* Impaired Wound Healing


What are the most common causes of vitamin D deficiency?

When you follow a strict vegan diet you are like to suffer from vitamin D deficiency because most of the natural sources are animal-based. If you have a minimum sun exposure that may occur for reasons like you’re homebound, live in northern latitudes, reduced skin exposure or head coverings, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure,

 you are likely to be vitamin D deficient because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. 

Can skin tone cause vitamin D deficiency?

Melanin which causes skin pigmentation reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D when exposed to the sunlight. Studies have shown that older adults who have darker skin are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. 


Can kidneys be a reason for vitamin D deficiency?

Adults that belong to the older age category may suffer from vitamin D deficiency as their kidneys reduce their capacity of converting vitamin D to its active form leading to an increased risk of deficiency.


Can digestive tract issues cause vitamin D deficiency?

 Digestive tract issues like Crohn’s, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat leading to vitamin D deficiency. 


Can medications be one of the reasons for vitamin D deficiency?

Some of the medications can lower the Vitamin D levels, few of which are listed below -  * Laxatives  * Steroids  * Drugs used for lowering Cholesterol (such as cholestyramine and colestipol). * Drugs used for controlling Seizures (such as phenobarbital and phenytoin)  * Rifampin (a Tuberculosis drug) * Orlistat (A weight-loss drug) Before you strap taking vitamin D supplements or any other nutritional supplements always inform your doctor about the drugs you take or those you have recently consumed.


What are the other factors that can lead to vitamin D deficiency? * Age: The ability of the skin to make vitamin D lessens with age   * Mobility: People who lack mobility during their daily life activities (for example, people in nursing homes and other facilities) are not able to use produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun  * Human breast milk: A woman's breast milk contains a small amount of vitamin D, therefore infant formulas often use only a small amount of vitamin D. Infants are for this reason at risk of not receiving enough and this is especially true for infants who are only fed breast milk. * Obesity: Lower vitamin D levels are often associated with body mass index greater than 30. Fat cells isolate vitamin D so that it is not released. Thus Vitamin D deficiency is common amongst obese people. Obesity often makes it necessary to consume vitamin D supplements in large amounts to reach and maintain normal vitamin D levels. How is vitamin D deficiency treated? Vitamin D deficiency treatment includes getting more vitamin D. This can be done through diet and supplements. Experts don't agree on how much vitamin D is needed by you, but they have agreed that vitamin D levels less than 20 nanograms per milliliter needs treatment. If you are not able to spend much time in the sun or if you often have your skin covered (due to clothing or sunscreen) Vitamin D production I inhibited. A health care practitioner or a doctor shall be consulted about taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly if you have risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.


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