What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is available in both the D2 and D3 forms. While each form of vitamin D has been demonstrated to be equally absorbable and utilized by our bodies, vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, has demonstrated greater efficacy by increasing the pheromone 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This pheromone is the biologically active form of vitamin D and how we measure levels within our system. Essentially, vitamin D3 is the most effective form to supplement with in order to have an effect on our body as a whole.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and prevention of osteoporosis, especially among individuals with a history of corticosteroid use. Long term use of corticosteroids places an individual at risk for developing osteoporosis due to the detrimental effects corticosteroids have on bone material. Vitamin D can help by aiding in the absorption of calcium we receive in our diets, as well as filling the gap left by lack of sunshine. Post-menopausal women and individuals who reside in areas with low levels of sunlight may also find themselves at risk for developing vitamin D deficiencies (that means us as Oregonians). Other health benefits of vitamin D include helping maintain healthy phosphorus levels, improving overall immunity, reducing the risk of heart disease, and much more.
How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?
Vitamin D3 is produced naturally by cells within our skin by converting ultraviolet B light in to vitamin D3. It can also be found in fatty fish like tuna and fortified dairy products such as milk. A large portion of individuals who reside in the Pacific Northwest may find they are deficient in vitamin D due to the low exposure to sunlight or lack of intake within their diets.
In order to obtain an adequate amount vitamin D, it is generally recommended that individuals aim to get 15 minutes a day, twice a week. The normal range of vitamin D spans from 20 ng/mL - 35 ng/mL. Individuals within this range should not require additional supplementation. However, for those who find themselves to be deficient in vitamin D, a rule of thumb is to supplement 100 IU per 1 ng/mL of deficiency. Therefore, if an individual measures at 15 ng/mL it is recommended they supplement with 500-700 IU of vitamin D once a day in order to reach about 20-22 ng/mL. Depending on the time of year, it is wise to consider changing dosage of vitamin D. During Winter and Fall seasons it is acceptable to increase vitamin D intake, while lowering the dosage during the Spring and Summer. However, avoid taking Vitamin D in excess of 4000 IU long term, as studies have demonstrated potential detrimental health effects
Vitamin D is an important vitamin to consider increasing our intake of if we live in an area where the sun likes to hide. It is a great way to help improve our overall wellness, especially for individuals at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Before beginning a vitamin D supplement, speak with your doctor and feel free to swing by to see me for more information on how to get started!
Consumer Lab (May 13th, 2017) Vitamin D Supplements Review. https://www-consumerlab-com.uws.idm.oclc.org/reviews/vitamin_D_supplements_review/Vitamin_D/. Last Updated: April 13th, 2019.