Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Important Function of Vitamin D

Important Function of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has lost some of the buzzes it generated a few short years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less critical to your well-being. New research continues to reveal the critical role this nutrient which is actually a hormone, plays in mood, bone-building, mental health, athletic performance, adequate birth weight, and cancer prevention. The Vitamin D Council works to keep the public informed about the role vitamin D plays in wellness as well as disseminating new research findings. It has supplied answers to basic questions about taking vitamin D for Alternative Medicine readers.

Why is Vitamin D important?

Why is Vitamin D important

Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations in the blood to support bone mineralization. Vitamin D is also required for bone growth and bone maintenance. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become brittle. Calcium and vitamin D together protect older adults from osteoporosis. In addition, studies have shown that vitamin D has anti-cancer properties and a new study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, has demonstrated that higher levels of serum vitamin D have a strong, statistically significant relationship a reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer.”

What signs indicate that I have a vitamin-D deficiency?

vitamin-D deficiency

Vitamin-D deficiency in children results in rickets and in adults results in osteomalacia. Both of these conditions result from a softening of the bones. It’s important to note that deficiency is extreme and isn’t common. It’s more common for Americans to be insufficient, which means they don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D, but the condition isn't’ extreme enough to result in deficiency symptoms like rickets.

How much time do I need in the sun to create adequate vitamin-D levels?

adequate vitamin-D levels

Too many individual variables exist to provide a meaningful answer. For example, individuals with a darker complexion need more sun exposure than those with a lighter complexion. Older skin isn’t as good at converting the sunlight to vitamin D. However, keep in mind that the ultraviolet-B rays that trigger vitamin D production in the skin only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is high in the sky. North of Atlanta, Georgia, none gets through from sometime in October until sometime in April. To support production, try to expose 40 percent of your skin to the sun but not long enough to burn.

Are some groups of people more susceptible to a vitamin-D deficiency?

vitamin-D deficiency

Individuals with limited sun exposure are more susceptible to vitamin-D insufficiency. Limited sun exposure could be a result of the season, time of day they go outside such as night workers who sleep during the day, length of the day, cloud cover, smog, skin’s melanin content, and sunscreen use. It’s important to note that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have identified vitamin D as a shortfall nutrient, which means that a significant number of Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of vitamin D in their diet. This is why the FDA designated vitamin D as a mandatory nutrient for food labels in the updated supplement-and food-label regulations.
Breastfed infants are at a higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D unless their mothers’ vitamin-D statuses are high. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that exclusively and partially breastfed infants should receive supplements with 400 IU of vitamin D per day, the RDA for this nutrient during infancy.
People with dark skin and older adults are also at higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D. Individuals with gut inflammation—inflammatory bowel disease—and those who have received bypass surgery don’t absorb vitamin D well.”

What are the tests that measure vitamin D, and what are normal levels?

The test that measures your blood levels of vitamin D is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test. A recently published major study suggests the optimal vitamin-D level for cancer prevention is higher than dietary authorities are currently recommended for bone health. The scientific evidence suggests that you should achieve 75 to 100 nmol/L. The previous target range was 50 to 75 nmol/L.

How often should I receive testing?”

testing of vitamin D

After the initial test, your doctor will decide how often you should receive testing and it will depend on risk factors and the results of the initial test. If your levels are very low, the doctor may want to test more frequently until the level is normal and then less frequently to ensure you maintain adequate levels.

What is a normal dosage of vitamin-D supplements?

The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU daily for adults and 800 IU daily for older adults over 70. It’s common for supplements to provide 100 percent of the RDA for the target population. However, supplement manufacturers make products in a range of vitamin-D levels and dosage forms that are made to meet the needs of a variety of scenarios. For example, there are vitamin D drops for breastfed infants can help parents provide the AAP recommendation of 400 IU daily. Also, higher-dose products exist for use when a 25-hydroxy blood test shows that your levels of vitamin-D are low and the doctor wants to raise them. Keep in mind, vitamin D is fat-soluble and you should use supplementation in the presence of dietary fat. 

Is it possible to overdose on vitamin D?

overdose on vitamin D

It’s possible to overdose on anything, even water. The tolerable upper intake levels set by the National Academies for Science for vitamin D is 4,000 IU daily. This level isn’t unsafe, but you should regularly consume levels higher than the UL only in consultation with your doctor and lab results.

What is a sign I have too much vitamin D?

too much vitamin D

Vitamin-D toxicity is rare, but it can result in weight loss and heart arrhythmias. It can also raise blood levels of calcium, which can lead to calcification of the arteries, damaging the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Most reports have suggested a toxicity threshold for vitamin D of 10,000 to 40,000 IU/day and serum 25(OH)D levels of 500 to 600 nmol/L. Adverse health effects are unlikely at daily intakes below 10,000 IU/day. Clinical trials of sufficient size and duration and under a variety of conditions have shown an absence of adverse effects at 10,000 IU daily.

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