Did you know more than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies — especially vitamin D deficiency? My guess is you probably didn’t…
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s important to know your vitamin and mineral levels and whether or not they fall within in a healthy range, right?
Previous epidemiology studies have reported a very high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, ranging from 40% to 90% of the population.
- 1 Vitamin D Deficiency
- 2 Some Essential Nutrients
- 3 Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
- 4 How Much Vitamin D Is Too Much?
- 5 Where Can I Get Vitamin D?
- 6 Vitamin D Is A Fat Soluble Hormone — Not A Vitamin
- 7 What Happens If You Have A Vitamin D Deficiency?
- 8 There Is A Solution
- 9 Do Vitamin D Supplements Work?
- 9.0.1 “Supplementation with 800 to 1000 IU/d of vitamin D or 50,000 IU monthly is safe for most people and can ensure levels of vitamin D within the optimal range. This intake is within the currently recommended safe upper tolerable limit for vitamin D of 2000 IU/d for those aged 1 year and older.”
- 9.0.2 Click here to BUY the best Vitamin D3 supplement I take each day.
- 9.0.3 Click here to BUY the best Vitamin D3 supplement I take each day.
- 10 Take Home Message
But what if you don’t know you have a deficiency? Should you start to take vitamin supplements? Is there a such thing as too much vitamin D?
Well it turns out that you can find this information out fairly easy during your next annual physical. Be sure to ask your doctor for a blood test on vitamin D deficiency and other minerals such as iron, folate, etc.
In today’s post, I am going to show you the importance of normal vitamin D levels, a few signs of vitamin deficiency, and how you can begin to supplement vitamin D on a regular basis to stay healthy. If you have experienced any symptoms or signs of vitamin D3 deficiency such as:
- Excessive head sweating
- Gut troubles (read my probiotic article for more info on gut troubles.)
- Aching bones, or
- Feeling “blue”
It would be wise to get your levels checked as soon as you can. If you don’t, these symptoms can lead to some serious health issues.
So let’s take a look at vitamin D3 supplements and how much vitamin D is too much or too little.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Did you know…
With that said…
Other vitamin and mineral deficiencies lead to specific diseases as well:
- Folic acid deficiency is responsible for excess birth defects
- Iron deficiency cause anaemia, and
- Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and more
Nutrient deficiencies have a series of health consequences impacting morbidity, mortality, and the quality of your life.
Looking at the graph below, Americans have not been doing a great job of getting the right vitamins and minerals according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
So it is very important to know where your levels lie, and what you need to do to maintain healthy levels.
But it is not all downhill from here…
Hopefully, you know that good nutrition is important for your health. Good nutrition means consuming sufficient vitamins and minerals, which are essential for your body to function.
With a balanced diet that contains a variety of:
- Vegetables – especially leafy green veggies
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
- Good fats and
You can begin to ensure adequate consumption of your essential nutrients and vitamins.
Some Essential Nutrients
Before I dig deep into what are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, why do you even need vitamin D, and what does vitamin D3 do, I want to give you a small background on a few other vitamins. It is important to understand that all minerals and vitamins work together in your body.
- Vitamin A — Is good for your eyes and skin health.
- Food Source: Orange colored foods, namely carrots and sweet potatoes
- Vitamin C — Is good for improving iron absorption and anti-oxidant function.
- Food Source: The most well-known sources are oranges, but vitamin C can be found in other fruits and vegetables: including kiwi fruit and strawberries.
- Vitamin E — Is good for improved blood circulation and protection against free radicals.
- Food Source: Nuts, specifically almonds, as well as sunflower seeds.
According to Dr. Oz, you can obtain many of your vitamins from certain foods such as:
So let’s take a look at vitamin D and what vitamin D does for your body.
Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
You’re probably wondering, “What does vitamin D do?”
Vitamin D is essential for healthy and strong bones. It improves the health of your bones by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium. It promotes calcium absorption in your gut and helps maintains adequate blood plasma calcium and phosphate amounts to enable normal mineralization of bones.
Check out other compounds like joint supplements to help you build strong joints and maintain healthy cartilage.
This process of preventing low levels of calcium in your blood is referred to as hypocalcemic tetany.
If you were to not get a sufficient amount of vitamin D, your bones would become thin and brittled.
Vitamin D also plays a large role in your heart health. The infographic below helps explain why.
Vitamin D may help to fight against a list of other medical conditions, such as diabetes and cancers. The importance of vitamin D supplementation during infancy can help reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes among children too.
The Health Professional Follow-Up Study found that men with vitamin D deficiency were 2 times more likely to have a heart attack compared to men who had normal vitamin D levels.
Did you know…
Without adequate vitamin D levels, your body would only absorb 10 – 15% of your dietary calcium? These absorption levels should be more than double this more like the 30 – 40% range.
Your muscles strive from the benefits of vitamin D. It helps support the transition of messages across your nerve cells from your brain to the rest of your body. This supports the movement of your body.
Knowing whether or not you have a vitamin D deficiency is important. Taking vitamin D supplements can help you avoid any deficiencies.
How Much Vitamin D Is Too Much?
How much vitamin D is too much each day?
As you go through different life experiences and grow older, your nutritional needs change. The recommended vitamin D3 dosage can be found below.
- Children below the age of 5 should be getting around 35 Units per day per pound.
- Ages 5 – 10 should be getting 2,500 units per day.
- Adults between 18 and 70 years require 5,000 units daily
- Adults over the age of 70 years require an additional 200 IU per day
- Pregnant women should be getting 5,000 units per day as well
Dr. Axe shares a great chart to follow:
Where Can I Get Vitamin D?
You can get Vitamin D from some foods, but natural food sources of vitamin D are limited. If you are a women and pregnant it is important to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.
The infographic from Viacord shows great sources of vitamin D for pregnant women. Those of you who are not pregnant, including men, don’t be fooled — anyone who has a vitamin D deficiency can also get vitamin D from the foods below.
It’s important to understand…
That you cannot rely strictly on your diet alone to consume the recommended daily amounts of vitamin D.
Dr. Ritamarie says that sunlight exposure of about 40% skin showing and supplements are your best options.
Personally, I don’t recommend going out in the sun for too long with out any sunscreen to protect your skin. You run the risk of developing skin cancers and other health related issues. Wearing sunscreen and protecting your skin is important.
(Alex Redmond) Instagram page
According to Carrington College, a sunscreen with just SPF 8 cuts your vitamin D generation by over 95%. So it would be wise to begin taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D Is A Fat Soluble Hormone — Not A Vitamin
Well that’s confusing…
Did you know, although given the name ‘vitamin D’, it is actually considered a pro-hormone? It is not actually a vitamin.
Let me explain…
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble prohormone that your body can produce photochemically in your skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol on its own. When you expose yourself to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, a chemical reaction occurs: the sun’s energy turns a chemical in your skin into vitamin D3.
The newly made vitamin D3 is then taken to your liver and kidneys where it is activated.
Your kidneys and liver convert vitamin D3 into a source that your body can actually use. Vitamin D3 gets converted into calcidiol and calcitriol in the liver.
Calcidol and calcitriol are two different forms of vitamin D in your body. Calcidiol is a precursor of calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D in your body and helps carry out the major functions of vitamin D.
I won’t get too deep into this but if you are interested in learning more, you can read here.
Because vitamin D is a fat soluble hormone, your body stores any excess vitamin D for later use. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that’s able to be stored in fatty tissue and in the liver, which your body can use when your D levels are low.
What Happens If You Have A Vitamin D Deficiency?
I wrote a detailed post on vitamin D deficiency that you can read here.
Children and kids with a vitamin D3 deficiency are at risk of rickets. This disease is characterized by abnormal calcification, softening of the bones, and bone growth distortion, typically resulting in bow legs.
Adults with a lack of vitamin D are at risk of having low bone calcium stores, which increases the risk of fractures and fragile bones.
This thin bone disease also leads to spinal deformities, and is commonly known as osteoporosis. Like kids, adults are also at risk of softening of the bones, from a deficiency of vitamin D or calcium, a disease known as osteomalacia.
There Is A Solution
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration describes a dietary supplement as:
“A product intended for ingestion that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.”
Dietary supplements come in many different forms:
Dietary supplements are often taken to help ensure you get enough dietary intake of essential nutrients. Supplements can also help reduce your risk of certain diseases.
Do Vitamin D Supplements Work?
According to a study by Kurt A. Kennel from Mayo Clinic, vitamin D supplements do protect from a vitamin D deficiency.
“Supplementation with 800 to 1000 IU/d of vitamin D or 50,000 IU monthly is safe for most people and can ensure levels of vitamin D within the optimal range. This intake is within the currently recommended safe upper tolerable limit for vitamin D of 2000 IU/d for those aged 1 year and older.”
With that said…
Is it possible to get too much vitamin D, or have a vitamin D – overdose? Can taking too much vitamin D cause negative side effects?
It is estimated that one billion individuals throughout the world have lower than normal vitamin D levels. But, it is important to note that too much vitamin D isn’t good either. Too much vitamin D can lead to toxicity.
What happens with excess vitamin D?
Vitamin D toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis D, is a condition where you have excessive amounts of vitamin D in your body.
Vitamin D toxicity is usually caused from excess consumption of vitamin D supplements.
When you suffer from vitamin D toxicity you may experience an excessive buildup of calcium circulating in your blood stream. Vitamin D overdose symptoms and excessive vitamin D side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor appetite
- Increased urination
- Kidney and liver problems
It is possible that you can overdose on vitamin D. It’s important to speak with your physician to discuss the amount of units to take each day. Personally, my doctor recommended 5,ooo IU’s per day. I attached the exact ones I take daily below.
According to Vitamin D Council it would take a lot of vitamin D to overdose…
Take Home Message
Vitamin D and other vitamin deficiencies are common all around the world. They can have detrimental effects on your well-being and overall health. But it is not all doom and gloom.
With proper education and access to a variety of good nutrition and supplements — such as vitamin D supplements — you can steer away from vitamin D deficiency!
If you think you may have a vitamin D deficiency or any sort of deficiency, I suggest you speak to your professional health care provider.
It would be a good idea to begin taking vitamin D supplements on a regular basis if you don’t already. Be sure to avoid 40,000 IU’s so you don’t overdose.
You are what you eat.
By eating correctly, you are less likely to have a vitamin D deficiency and less chance of needing a vitamin D supplement.
Do you currently take vitamin D supplements?