An Article on The Importance of Vitamin D Supplementation. By Karen Habershon, DCMChiro There are 5 types of Vitamin D (D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5). Although D2 and D3 are both available D3 is the desired supplement as D2 is the plant form which only works for some people.
Vitamin D3 deficiency is widespread in areas with low sun exposure. It is thought that up to 85% of the population in north Europe are affected to some degree. Optimum Vitamin D levels are important to help prevent the progression of:-
- Cardiovascular disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Vitamin D raises production of a variety of antimicrobial peptides in the body that fight infections like influenza. Vitamin D3 also reduces fracture rate in the elderly who suffer from osteoporosis and osteopenia. It encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous.
People exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need vitamin D supplements because it promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Activated Vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium and phosphorous from food in the gut. It also allows reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys which increases the flow in the bloodstream.
Why is Vitamin D so important to us?
Essential for the normal mineralisation of bone, maintaining many organ systems and preventing a low calcium condition which can result in:-
- Overactive neurological reflexes
- Spasms of the hands and feet
- Cramps and spasms of the voice box
Sunlight and Vitamin D requirements
Exposing your unprotected skin in the tropics for two sessions of 15minutes of sunlight each week
allows your body to naturally produce adequate Vitamin D. However there are a number of factors which can affect Vitamin D synthesis:-
- Distance from the equator
- Cloud cover
What if I am not exposed to the correct intensity of sun?
You should obtain Vitamin D from foods and perhaps supplements (Vitamin D3). People with high risk of vitamin D deficiency should consume 25µg (1000 IU) of vitamin D each day so that there is a good level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the bloodstream. Vitamin D3 should be taken during the day as occasionally it can disrupt sleep.
Elderly and dark skinned people should consume extra vitamin D for good health. Dark skinned people require extra due to the melanin pigment which acts as a natural sunscreen, blocking absorption of vitamin D from sunlight. Elderly people should also consider higher dosages due to poorer absorption in the gut.
Who should be careful taking Vitamin D supplements?
Vitamin D must be precisely managed via your GP for those with a history of:-
- High Calcium levels
- Kidney disease
- Parathyroid complications