Vitamin D3 Benefits - New Guidelines
Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in dairy products, some foods, and it is produced from ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is necessary for promoting calcium absorption, in order to have healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. You used to hear about sailors getting rickets from a lack of vitamin D when on long sea journeys, but there is no reason for anyone to be low on vitamin D today.
Evidence and Amount of D3 Newcessary
There is a growing consensus that people need higher Vitamin D levels than had previously been recommended. The recommended dose for years was individuals under 50 years of age take 200 IU daily, and those 50-70 years of age take 400 IU. Now these dosages are considered too low. Years ago there was much concern about fat soluble vitamins building up in your system and causing negative effects, but at this time scientist can’t even agree on the exact amount an individual needs, and they are not concerned about toxicity, although obviously you wouldn’t take tablets by the handful.
A recent study showed that vitamin D levels in the range of 1000 IU range had excellent outcomes for the elderly and for people with type II diabetes. However, you can not eat enough vitamin D food to get to this level. There are some foods with vitamin d that you will see on the chart below, but the selection is limited, unless you are really fond of cod liver oil.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Treating Vitamin D deficiency treatment is quite simple. You can buy Vitamin D pills over the counter, and you can get them combined with calcium. Doctors also prescribe vitamin D if your level is low, which typically would be a dosage of 50,000 IU once a week. Quite often a short course of the prescription will get you to a healthy level. Researchers, of course, are not going to recommend you live your life in the sun for the sake of vitamin D levels due to the concern of skin cancer. Some sun using sun screen is very healthy but it won’t get your level high enough either.
Osteoporosis (a disease that makes bones thin and brittle, thus causing fractures more easily) is certainly one of the main reasons for increasing your vitamin D level, but it will also help prevent fractures at any age, and help bones grow strong and healthy. If your level of vitamin D is too low you won’t absorb the amount of necessary calcium. Post-menopausal women are at the highest risk for problems.
Other Diseases that Vitamin D Helps Prevent
Another very important reason to be concerned about vitamin d is a low intake is associated with cardiovascular disease, heart failure and possibly type II diabetes. There is a vast amount of ongoing research to determine the healthiest levels. I imagine there will be changing guidelines as they learn more about vitamin D.
Several studies have shown a higher intake correlates with lower incidences of cancers well, particularly colon and colorectal cancers.
Greater sun exposure has also been shown to reduce cancer deaths also.
Autoimmune Disease Require Higher Levels
In my personal situation, I don’t drink milk or eat any dairy products, and yes I do miss cheese and ice cream. I quit drinking milk some years ago. Therefore, there are very few foods to eat that have vitamin D but I do enjoy fish. I take a supplement and the doctor periodically checks my blood level. They recommend that the blood level is higher for people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Doctors are checking the vitamin D with routine lab work much more frequently now for many people, and if yours is not, then ask.
Many people are taking Vitamin D3 supplements, which are vitamin D tablets along with magnesium and calcium. This is a good way to insure you are getting important protectors available in your bloodstream. Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium have been shown in numerous studies to work well when taken together and the vitamin D is more effective when taken this way.
Vitamin D deficiency Symptoms
Food Chart for Vitamin D
Food IU's Serving % DV
Cod Liver Oil 1,360 1340
Salmon, cooked 3 ounces 794 199
Mackeral, cooked 3 ounces 388 97
Tuna fish, canned in water, 3 oz 154 39
Milk, non-fat, low fat, whole, fortified 115-124 29-31
Orange Juice fortified with vit d, 1 cup 100 25
Yogurt, nonfat low fat, whole, fortified 80 20
Margarine, fortified, 1 tbsp, 60 15
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 oz. 46 12
Liver, beef, cooked, 3.5 oz. 46 12
Ready to eat cereal, fortified with 10% if DV 40 10
Egg, 1 whole 25 6
Cheese, Swiss 1 oz. 6 2
I hope this article explains the importance of vitamin D, and the problem with vitamin D deficiency. Also, most people are probably not getting enough vitamin D in their diet, particularly if they are post menopausal or elderly.
Of course, vitamin D is important for growing children as their bones grow so rapidly. At least most children are milk drinkers which is important, but children's vitamins are a good idea. We will be hearing more about this vitamin as new research is completed.
Your Personal Vitamin D Evaluation.
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby
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