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Vitamin D

The fat-soluble vitamin D’s most important role is maintaining blood levels of calcium, which it accomplishes by increasing absorption of calcium from food and reducing urinary calcium loss. Both effects keep calcium in the body and therefore spare the calcium that is stored in bones. When necessary, vitamin D transfers calcium from the bone into the bloodstream, which does not benefit bones. Although the overall effect of vitamin D on the bones is complicated, some vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones and teeth.

• Crohn’s Disease
1,000 IU daily under medical supervision 
Vitamin D malabsorption is common in Crohn’s and can lead to a deficiency of the vitamin. Supplementation can help prevent bone loss in cases of deficiency.

• Cystic Fibrosis
1,000 to 2,000 IU daily
The fat malabsorption associated with cystic fibrosis often leads to a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D. Supplementation can help counteract the deficiency.

• Osteoporosis
400 to 800 IU daily depending on age, sun exposure, and dietary sources
Vitamin D increases calcium absorption and helps make bones stronger. Vitamin D supplementation has reduced bone loss in women who don’t get enough of the vitamin from food and slowed bone loss in people with osteoporosis. It also works with calcium to prevent some musculoskeletal causes of falls and subsequent fractures.

• Rickets
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for dosage
Vitamin D supplements may be helpful in preventing and treating rickets and has also been shown some beneficial effects for burns, depression, prostate cancer prevention, and several diseases that may be associated with vitamin D deficiency, such as celiac disease, hypertension, low back pain, and seasonal affective disorder.

Side Effects 
People with hyperparathyroidism should not take vitamin D without consulting a physician. People with sarcoidosis should not supplement with vitamin D, unless a doctor has determined that their calcium levels are not elevated. Too much vitamin D taken for long periods of time may lead to headaches, weight loss, and kidney stones. Rarely, excessive vitamin D may even lead to deafness, blindness, increased thirst, increased urination, diarrhea, irritability, children’s failure to gain weight, or death.

Most people take 400 IU per day, a safe amount for adults. Some researchers believe that amounts up to 10,000 IU per day are safe for the average healthy adult, although adverse effects may occur even at lower levels among people with hypersensitivity to vitamin D (e.g. hyperparathyroidism). In fact, of all published cases of vitamin D toxicity for which a vitamin D amount is known, only one occurred at a level of intake under 40,000 IU per day. Nevertheless, people wishing to take more than 1,000 IU per day for long periods of time should consult a physician. People should remember the total daily intake of vitamin D includes vitamin D from fortified milk and other fortified foods, cod liver oil, supplements that contain vitamin D, and sunlight. People who receive adequate sunlight exposure do not need as much vitamin D in their diet as do people who receive minimal sunlight exposure.

Some, but not all, research suggests that vitamin D may slightly raise blood levels of cholesterol in humans.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds 
Vitamin D increases both calcium and phosphorus absorption and has also been reported to increase absorption of aluminum.

 

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