Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamins are substances that are needed by your body in small quantities from food because your body cannot synthesize vitamins independently. Compared to other vitamins, vitamin D differs as the body can make it when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D interacts with more than thirty different tissues in the body and affects over 1,000 genes. This is why this vitamin is vital for various body processes and not just bone health. Moreover, vitamin D supports muscle strength, immune function, mood stability and also prevents diseases.
Unfortunately, if your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, it can result in a loss of bone density and this might contribute to fractures and osteoporosis. You must take a vitamin D supplement to avoid suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Here’s everything you need to know before integrating vitamin D as a part of your daily routine.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin D Supplements?
Vitamin D supplement benefits are as follows:
- Helps in fighting disease – The primary benefit of vitamin D and supplements is to fight diseases and boost the immune system of the body. It helps in reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis and decreases the chances of developing heart disease. Moreover, intake of vitamin D ensures that the likelihood of developing flu is reduced.
- Reduces depression – Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in regulating mood and reducing depression. It also helps in warding off anxiety.
- Enhances weight loss – If you are trying to lose weight, you can think of adding vitamin D supplements to your diet. Vitamin D has an appetite-suppressing effect and this boosts one’s weight loss efforts.
What are the Symptoms of Deficiency?
If you notice the following symptoms, it means that you might be having vitamin D deficiency and the best way to make up for it is to turn to vitamin D deficiency supplements.
The symptoms include:
- Aches, tiredness and pains, and an overall sense of feeling unwell;
- Stress fractures, especially in your hips, pelvis, and legs;
- Severe muscle or bone pain or weakness that might cause difficulty getting up from a low chair or floor or climbing stairs.
When you notice these symptoms, you can visit your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed by performing a simple blood test. If you do have vitamin D deficiency, your doctor is most likely to recommend supplements and you can take a look at the best vitamin D supplements by going through our reviews.
How Much Should You Be Taking?
An individual’s daily requirement of vitamin D depends on several factors, such as:
- Whether or not they have underlying medical conditions.
In general, this is how much vitamin D dosage you would require based on your age:
- 400 IU between ages 0 and 12 months;
- 600 IU between ages 1 and 70 years;
- 800 IU if you are 70 years and above.
Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding need 600 IU of vitamin D a day.
To know the correct vitamin D supplement dose that is right for you, consult your doctor.
The Best Form of Vitamin D Supplement
It is difficult to say which the best form of vitamin D is because it depends on the unique requirement of your body. With that said, you will broadly find vitamin D supplements made available in two forms – D2 and D3.
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) – This is commercially produced by exposing ergosterol from yeast to UV light. It is often used in vegan supplements and fortified foods.
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – This is produced by your skin when it is exposed to the UV light of the sun. Commercially, this is produced by exposing lanolin (acquired from sheep’s wool) to UV rays. It is also produced from lichen.
Both D2 and D3 are effective, but D3 seems to be more effective at high dosages. To make D2, manufacturers make use of yeast and D3 comes from various sources including fish oils, lanolin, and algae oil (suitable for vegans). Both of them are fat-soluble and they need to travel to the kidneys and liver to be converted into active vitamin D.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Vitamin D supplements are safe for consumption and they can help make up for the deficiency that might be caused due to lack of sunlight exposure or poor diet. However, if you take a high amount of vitamin D orally, it might be toxic and can have adverse effects. The tolerable upper limit of vitamin D supplements for adults is 4,000 IU a day.
Here, take a look at some of the possible vitamin D side effects that you might notice if you’ve taken more than the recommended dosage.
- Excessive weight loss and anorexia;
- Heart arrhythmias;
- Frequent urination.
Please note that these side effects only happen when you are taking supplements. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, it will not result in vitamin D toxicity. Also, it is unlikely that you will get too much vitamin D from food.
Vitamin D supplements might react with certain medications like, weight-loss drugs, steroids, and medications that lower cholesterol. So, remember to consult your doctor before you start taking vitamin D supplements.
Who Needs to Take Vitamin D Supplements?
Improved immune function, healthy bones, and cell growth are some of the vitamin D benefits and this makes vitamin D crucial for everyone.
However, some people are more at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency and they need supplementation. These groups include:
- People who don’t get a lot of sunlight exposure;
- Infants who are breastfeeding because human milk does not contain a lot of vitamin D;
- Older adults who stay indoors most of the time;
- People with darker skin as their darker skin tones consist of a lot of melanin, which can lead to reducing the amount of vitamin D that the skin intakes;
- People who have a BMI of 30 or more are associated with lower levels of vitamin D;
- People who suffer from conditions like, inflammatory bowel disease. This condition affects the ability of the gut to absorb vitamin D.
What is the Best Way to Take It?
Vitamin D supplements come in many forms and the best way to take them depends on your personal preference.
- Tablets – Tablets have a longer shelf life. But, you must be careful of additional fillers and binders, such as carrageenan and maltodextrin. These hard tablets can be consumed easily. You can swallow them with a glass of water.
- Soft gels – Soft gels relate to soft gelatin shells that are filled with oil. A lot of people find these easier to swallow. But, they’re not suitable for vegans, vegetarians and are usually not Halaal or Kosher. They are also sensitive to temperature and light. Their shelf life is shorter than capsules or tablets.
- Capsules – Capsules are quite similar to soft gels concerning their shape and also ease of swallowing. Similar to tablets, capsules may come with additional ingredients like fillers, preservatives, and binders. Most capsules make use of animal gelatin, but you will also find capsules that use plant cellulose and they are suitable for vegans.
- Liquid drops – Similar to soft gels, the liquid vitamin D supplement is oil-based. They don’t have gelatins and consist of minimal ingredients. They can be taken under the tongue easily, blended into something, or dropped onto food. They are also a good option for infants and kids.
- Gummies – Gummies are a wonderful alternative to swallowing tablets or pills. In this form, they are considered to be the best vitamin D supplement for kids and also adults who have a problem with swallowing hard tablets or capsules. Gummies may or may not be for vegans and you have to check the ingredients carefully.
Now that you know the different forms of vitamin D supplements, you can take a look at our list of the top 10 best vitamin D supplements for men, women, and kids. We have conducted in-depth research to provide you with a comprehensive review of the supplements. This will help you to make an informed decision.
Does Vitamin D Supplements Work?
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to various health problems, such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Vitamin D deficiency in kids is known to cause rickets. As for older adults, there is a risk of decreased bone strength that results in causing fractures.
According to early research, supplementation of vitamin D can help in providing the body with the needed levels of vitamin D. When the low levels of supplementing, you can expect to strengthen your bones and get protection against falls, get a strong immune system and also be able to ward off depression and anxiety.
However, research is still ongoing. But, the point is that you don’t need to wait for the experts to answer the various questions regarding the value of vitamin D. This is because there is nothing to worry about as long as you don’t take too many supplements. Stick to the recommended vitamin D supplement dosage and you shouldn’t be facing any adverse effects.
But, if your body already has sufficient levels of vitamin D, you might not need to take supplements. You need to discuss this with your doctor.
Vitamin D supplements are needed by individuals who have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. These are safe for use when used in moderation. You can take a look at our compiled list of the top 10 vitamin D that you can purchase for yourself.
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