Vitamin D3 seems to be on everybody’s lips these days! Just do an online search for “Vitamin D3” and you’ll see how this vitamin is earning its reputation for all sorts of conditions!
Being a sceptic myself, I didn’t sit up and take notice until 2 things happened:
Firstly, during a regular blood check, my doctor checked my Vitamin D3 levels and discovered that my levels were critically low! Which came as a complete surprise to me as I am an active person who enjoys the outdoors?!
The doctor explained to me that my olive skin which is a natural protectant from sun light also makes it harder for my body to absorb the sunrays required for the body to turn into Vitamin D3. She also explained that the lack of fat cells on my body (being fairly skinny) also inhibits the production of Vitamin D3 as fat cells are required for the production of Vitamin D3.
She assured me that by taking high doses of a Vitamin D3 supplement ( 4000IU/DAY) my vitamin D3 will climb up to the required level. She also informed me that I will need to be supplementing this important Vitamin for the rest of my life!
She handed me a Vitamin D3 study and recommended that I read it.
This brings me to the second event that made me sit up and pay attention to the Vitamin D3 hype!
The newly established links between this single nutrient and an increased risk/severity of diseases such as cancer, obesity, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions is frightening and at the same time offers hope that we might have discovered a low-cost, easily administered treatment for the prevention and management of our most disabling health problems!
So the question is, how does a humble vitamin play such a vital role in the prevention of so many illnesses?
It appears that Vitamin D3 is not just a vitamin! It also acts as a hormone and cytokine ( chemical messenger), playing a pivotal role in many biological processes including regulatory functions on immune and inflammatory responses, cell division, nervous system activity and bone structure maintenance.
Almost every cell in your body appears to have vitamin D receptors, suggesting that a deficiency can potentially interrupt the normal function of every organ system.
CONDITIONS RELATED TO VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY:
- Osteoporosis and rickets
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Diabetes (types 1, 2 and gestational)
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Pre-eclampisa and hypertension
- Multiple sclerosis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
WHO IS AT RISK OF DEFICIENCY?
Everyone! Due to poor diet choices, long working hours (indoors) and our tendency to avoid sun exposure to reduce skin cancer, a large portion of the Australian population is at risk of Vitamin D insufficiency.
Certain members of the population are at significantly greater risk of deficiency:
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Overweight and obese individuals
- Those with limited sun exposure, including: Immobile individuals ( eg the elderly), cancer patients and people who wear robes or head coverings for cultural/religious reasons.
VITAMIN D3 STATUS: WHAT ARE THE HEALTHY LEVELS?
Vitamin D3 status is assessed via a blood test that your doctor can order which measures serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D].
Children: 25(OH)D ≥50 nmol/L
Adults: 25(OH)D ≥ 75nmol/L
WHAT DOSAGE TO TAKE?
- To maintain levels around 70nmol/L: 1000IU/Day
- To increase levels to approx. 100nmol/L: 4000IU/Day
- For moderate to severe vitamin D deficiency: 3000-5000/day for 6 to 12 weeks followed by a maintenance dose of 1000IU/Day.
Your doctor will advise you of the required dose once they have the Vitamin D level results.
WHICH VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENTS TO TAKE?
There are many Vitamin D3 supplements available on the market. Each of which will claim to be superior to the other.
The important criteria for selecting an appropriate Vitamin D3 vitamin is to chose one that offers you the required dose, most Vitamin D3 supplements have 1000IU per tablet/Cap. Some brands are available in tablets, capsules or concentrated drops.
Here is a list of some of the available Vitamin D3 brands sold at Your Chemist Shop: