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Vitamin D "101"

Posted By Holly Lucille, ND, RN, Monday, May 21, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

Besides commanding celebrity status these days, with Vitamin D deficiency being fairly common in the general public.,Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (other fat soluble vitamins are E, A and K) that actually functions as a pro-hormone (a precursor to hormones). Vitamin D plays many roles in the body, enhancing absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines, promoting healthy bone structure, influencing cellular growth, modulating the immune system and in addition, it appears that vitamin D enhances the secretion and action of insulin. There are a couple of different forms to understand. Vitamin D3 is also known as "cholecalciferol” and you can obtain it from foods such as cheese, beef liver and egg yolks. It can also be made in the skin after exposure to sunlight and is the preferable form when it comes to supplementation. Vitamin D2, also called "ergocalciferol” is actually a synthetic form, not normally present in the body, made from fungus.

Potential consequences of low vitamin D levels include a faster rate of bone loss, an increased risk of falls among the elderly, decreased resistance to infection, and a potential increased risk of developing cancer and certain autoimmune diseases. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from diabetes, cancer, hypertension, lower back pain, the seasonal flu, and a myriad of other illnesses typically have depressed levels of Vitamin D in there blood.

And yes, you can get too much. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, dry mouth, abdominal or bone pain, and dizziness are the classic symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. As the condition progresses, signs of impaired kidney function, such as excessive urination, may arise. Itching, calcification of organs and blood vessels, osteoporosis, and seizures are still other signs that develop at the later stages.
A 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test, also referred to as a 25(OH)D is the test usually performed to measure Vitamin D in the blood and optimal levels are between 50-80ng/mL. At this time I recommend that levels be monitored periodically however there is some debate over the accuracy of this particular test.

Recommended dosage for supplementation vary, the Vitamin D Council recommends the following amounts of supplemental vitamin D3 per day in the absence of proper sun exposure.
Healthy children under the age of 1 years – 1,000 IU.
Healthy children over the age of 1 years – 1,000 IU per every 25 lbs of body weight.
Healthy adults and adolescents – at least 5,000 IU.
Pregnant and lactating mothers – at least 6,000 IU.
Additionally, children and adults with chronic health conditions such as autism, MS, cancer, heart disease, or obesity may need as much as double these amounts.
The US Government’s Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin D is set at 4,000 IU per day.

Tags:  vitamin D 

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