There are many different vitamins and supplements that our bodies use everyday. The body needs vitamins in order to properly function, help in boost your immune system, promote health, and even provide our body with energy it needs. One vitamin in particular is often overlooked: Vitamin D. Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, is what’s considered a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning that it is dissolved by fat and then stored in the body). There are two types of vitamin D, 2 and 3. Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, comes from plant sources. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, comes from animal sources.
Effect on Your Body
We may have all heard that calcium is needed for healthy bones, but without vitamin D, our body isn’t able to properly absorb calcium like it should. It also aids in absorption of other minerals like magnesium and phosphorus. Vitamin D helps our body by:
- Reducing cancer cell growth
- Reducing inflammation
- Aiding in our immune system function
- Enhances the secretion and action of insulin
- Improving overall mood
- Improve energy
How Much Do I Need?
For both men and women, the recommended daily intake is 600 IU. For older adults (70 years and up), the recommended daily intake is 800 IU. To ensure you are getting the adequate amount of vitamin D, a lab test (bloodwork) may be ordered. Many lab ranges will suggest that vitamin D levels greater than 30 ng/mL are sufficient, but for best overall function and health, optimal levels are recommended to be in the blood range from 50-80 ng/mL. Before taking vitamin D supplements over the recommended daily amount, lab test can better help your pharmacist determine what’s best for you individually. Too little vitamin D, or vitamin D deficiency, can potentially lead to osteoporosis or bone fractures, poor immune health, fatigue, and even mood disorders. Studies show that approximately 42% of Americans are considered to be vitamin D deficient. This deficiency can come from shying away from sunlight at optimal times, not having enough skin exposed (with sunscreen) to absorb sun’s nutrients, or even strict diets that eliminate vitamin D sources altogether. This can be avoided by maintaining a healthy diet, taking supplements with vitamin D, and having adequate sun exposure (20-30 minutes, everyday). Vitamin D can be incorporated into our diets with:
- Fatty fish, like salmon or tuna
- Egg yolks
- Fortified cereals (limit or avoid cereals with too many sugars)
Reading food labels can help in ensuring that you are receiving the right amounts of vitamin D with each serving. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it can be more challenging to incorporate vitamin D into your diet, therefore, you may need to add supplemental vitamin D drops to your foods or drinks. Milk replacements, such as almond milk, can be a healthy alternative to ensure vitamin D consumption. Before beginning a vitamin D supplement, be sure to consult with one of our pharmacists, to ensure you are taking the right dose. At Avant Pharmacy & Wellness we offer lab work without the hassle of scheduling an office visit. Come speak with our wellness staff and we can get you set up!