In this article I will share with you the endless health benefits of vitamin D, the different healthy ranges as defined by different health institutions and what you should be aware of before supplementing with it.
Oh and by the way, Vitamin D is in fact a hormone! With that, out of the way, let’s get started.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 My experience with Vitamin D3
- 2 What is Vitamin D?
- 3 Vitamin D3 benefits
- 4 When and how to take it
- 5 Safety and side effects
- 6 Do I need to cycle off?
- 7 Dosage
- 8 Closing notes:
My experience with Vitamin D3
This supplement is a must. It becomes a priority if you live in a country without sun. Low vitamin D levels can lead to depression and other health problems due to hormonal imbalances.
As I mentioned earlier, despite its name, Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone. This is why I always recommend getting an exam to check your Vitamin D levels before you start supplementation.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of the minerals in the body, especially calcium (proper bone structure) and phosphorus, as well as achieving hormonal balance and therefore immune system health.
Vitamin D is a hormone found mostly in fish foods (in small amounts) such as sardines, tuna, herring and mackerel. However we can get high amounts of Vitamin D directly from the sun by exposing ourselves to sunlight (humans also have a photosynthesis procedure similar to plants).
It’s amazing how quickly adequate levels of vitamin D can be restored by sunlight. Our body fat acts like a battery (storage) for Vitamin D since it is stored in our fatty cells and then released when the sun is gone. 5-6 days of normal sunlight exposure (without sunscreen) can last for around 50 days of no sunlight exposure.
Because of the connection of Vitamin D and sunlight (or lack thereof), supplementation with this specific vitamin becomes important for dark-skinned people, older people (who need calcium and bone support more than anyone else) and people living in Northern countries where sun availability is limited.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to Vitamin D. One believes that you should get a maximum of 1.000mg daily (and that is considered to be a lot), while the other believes that you can do 5.000 to 10.000 points daily in order to improve your vitamin D levels.
This is also because the ‘normal’ levels of Vitamin D3 are also different depending on the medical source/standard. For example, most institutes (including the Vitamin D Council, Endocrine Society and Institute of Medicine) state that levels under 30 ng/ml mark Vitamin D deficiency while the normal levels are within 40 to 50 ng/ml. Anything over 100 ng/ml is considered to be toxic and The Institute of Medicine, doesn’t believe levels over 50 ng/ml can be beneficial.
Deficient >30, 30-40 normal, 40-50 optimal, 50-100 within range without benefit, 100> toxic
Others claim that anything under 50 ng/ml marks a deficiency and the optimal levels for health is in the area of 50 to 80 ng/ml. This school of thought also claims that doses between 80 and 120 are therapeutic while the toxicity level is set to over 150 ng/ml.
Deficient >50, 50-80 normal, 80-100 therapeutic, 150> toxic
I personally feel that the truth is somewhere in the middle of these 2 theories. I feel better when my levels are in the area of 50 to 80 ng/ml. That, however, is my personal experience and I would strongly advise you to check with your doctor to find out what dose is right for you. Also get yourself tested and see at what range you feel better in.
Regardless of the above, I strongly believe that supplementation with Vitamin D3 is essential for optimal health.
Vitamin D3 benefits
The most important benefits of supplementing with Vitamin D are:
- Improving overall health and even protecting from premature death,
- Strengthening the immune system,
- Improving athletic performance (by supporting hormonal and physical health),
- Improving mood and protecting from depression (by supporting hormonal health and regulating levels of magnesium in the body)
- Protecting against diabetes since it can help with hormone balance (by supporting insulin sensitivity),
- Establishing hormonal balance in turn means better testosterone levels for men and better progesterone levels for women (and better mood, libido and body composition).
On top of those, Vitamin D has been proven to be effective for:
- Improving bad sleep as a result of Vitamin D deficiency
- Any condition related to calcium depletion,
- Bone weakness or bone loss,
- Low levels of phosphates in the blood,
- Osteoporosis and stronger bones in older people,
- High blood pressure levels (when combined with calcium).
However it has shown to create kidney stones when supplemented along with Calcium.
It has shown promise in studies for treating:
- MS and Alzheimer’s
- Cancer (lowering risk of prostate, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancer)
- Bone loss in older women
- Breathing problems (including Asthma),
- Heart disease,
- High cholesterol
However, at this point more research is needed to confirm any positive results in these cases.
When and how to take it
The first thing that you need to know is that there are two types of Vitamin D in the market:
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) found in fish oil,
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is found in plants and is used to make supplements and fortified foods.
Out of the two, Vitamin D3 is the one that matches the type of Vitamin D formed on your skin from sunlight (UV-B) and can be absorbed properly by your body.
Vitamin D2 is synthetic, absorbed poorly by the body and has been shown to be toxic in higher doses!
The amount of supplementation varies and depends on the existing levels of Vitamin D3 in the patient’s body, their age and other pre-existing conditions.
The other difference is the dose per pill. Vitamin D3 supplements come in 1000IU, 5000IU and 10.000IU pills. It is up to you to choose the one that fits your dosing needs.
Make sure that you take a Vitamin K2 supplement along with Vitamin D3 to ensure efficient calcium absorption (since calcium has a tendency to end up in your arteries instead of your bones in the presence of Vitamin D3).
Safety and side effects
Vitamin D3 is considered to be safe when taken orally and in recommended amounts.
Side effects only occur when recommended doses are exceeded.
Those can be:
- Fatigue and weakness,
- Loss of appetite,
- Dry mouth,
- Metallic taste,
- Vomiting and other.
Avoid using Vitamin D is you have any of the following conditions:
- Kidney disease
- High levels of calcium in the blood.
Vitamin D can increase calcium levels even more and lead to kidney stones or hinder your kidneys since they cannot handle the proper amounts of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
See contraindications and interactions below for more information on when not to take Vitamin D supplements.
Special Precautions & Warnings
According to WebMd.com, supplementation with Vitamin D up to 4000 units daily are considered to be likely safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
However, higher doses can cause serious damage to the fetus.
Always consult with your doctor if you are pregnant before using Vitamin D supplements.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances
Consult with your doctor before using this supplement especially if you have any of the following conditions or take the following medication/substances:
- Antacids and Diuretics. Antacids contain aluminum (which can cause toxicity). Diuretics work by removing water from the body. When used in combination with Vitamin D, they can cause kidney damage.
- Some medication when taken with Vitamin D can have severe side effects or interfere with their effectiveness so check with your doctor before supplementing with it.
Do I need to cycle off?
Cycling this supplement is a must and depends on your dosing protocol. Some take Vitamin D3 every other day while others take it every day for 1 week and then take one week off.
It depends on your current Vitamin D3 levels so getting tested and seeking advice from your doctor are important in order to establish the right dose protocol for your specific case.
I am currently working on an ebook on the Most effective Supplements where I will reveal the dosages I use for different purposes and the brands I personally recommend for optimal results. So make sure you bookmark this page and come back to check for more info or subscribe to my newsletter and receive the latest website updates and articles directly to your email!
Vitamin D is an important hormone for your overall health. Vitamin D deficiency can throw off your hormonal health, especially if you live in a country without a lot of sun. Supplementing with vitamin D is inexpensive but you need to check your blood levels as that will determine the dose that is right fo you.
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by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200
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