Everything you’ve been told up till now about vitamin D has been backward! In this article, we’re determined to set the record straight and debunk some of the most widespread myths about it. Stay tuned and continue reading to learn the pros and cons of vitamin D, where you can find it, and how you can ideally utilize it for your health.
Vitamin D is considered the ‘it’ vitamin when it comes to joint and bone health. This is probably due to its critical role in absorbing both calcium and phosphorus in the body, keeping your bones strong.
Thus, when if you’re lacking in vitamin D concentrations, your bones may become weaker and softer compromising you to a countless number of skeletal diseases like rickets, osteoporosis, fatigue, or bone fractures.
Presumably, vitamin D actually has other additional functions in treating some different health conditions like:
But for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing only on its prominent role in maintaining bone, joint and muscle health.1,2
Plentiful misleading information about vitamin D has circulated on the internet. Wrong data like there’s no limit to taking vitamin D, or the only source for vitamin D is the sun, tanning salons are best for getting vitamin D.
These are all myths you should stop believing. Get your facts straight and backed by science from this article.
The literature is filled with studies on the efficacy of vitamin D in treating several bones, joints, and muscle conditions. Let us reiterate some data for you on how vitamin D can help with your health:
A study favored the use of vitamin D in managing pain as a result of chronic conditions. This study revealed that vitamin D is safe, efficacious, and beneficial when it comes to treatment.
This study aimed to find out the link between vitamin D deficiency and triggering rheumatoid arthritis. After analyzing reports for 3489 patients, the study revealed that there was indeed a link.
This was evident by the data produced where it showed that rheumatoid arthritis patients had lower vitamin D levels as compared with other healthy controls.
This study revealed that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in the progression of osteoarthritis. So, using it as a treatment strategy can certainly be beneficial in managing the symptoms and relieving the associated painful symptoms.
There are different sources to obtain vitamin D, these are:1
Since vitamin D is naturally produced in your body staying in a dormant state, it needs sunlight exposure —specifically Solar UV-B— to activate it. You should be careful to note that staying exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods can make you at risk of developing sunburn.
Since everybody’s reactions differ significantly from stimulants, you should customize according to your body how much area of skin to expose, the amount of sunscreen application.
Evidently, the amount of sunscreen you use can negatively affect vitamin D absorption within layers of the skin.6
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you should turn your back on using sunscreen to increase your vitamin D intake. Aside from sunburns, direct sunlight exposure with no sunscreen protection can make you at risk for developing sunburns, skin cancer, and early aging.7,8
Finally, one other factor to consider is how much lavish the sun is where you live. It can be quite challenging for those living in countries with limited sunlight exposure or for anyone for that matter in Wintertime.
Your second natural vitamin D source is dietary and can be found in two forms D2 (from plant sources) and D3 (from animal sources).
Here’s a list of some food sources of Vitamin D:9,10
It’s crucial to note that D3 sources have proven more effective in raising vitamin D in the body according to several studies.11,12
If you’ve settled for a supplement source of vitamin D, you should know that there are two types of supplements. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Since recent studies have concurred that vitamin D3 is better in increasing and maintaining vitamin D inside the blood, most physicians recommend it.
Nevertheless, you should be wise to always consult your healthcare professional before following any of the previously mentioned routes for vitamin D sources, as they would know what’s best for you.
Vitamin D supplements intake is considered the most reliable source of obtaining vitamin D as it doesn’t have many risk factors affecting it like its counterparts and you can rely on a regimented dose every day without going through the trouble of calculating your intake.
According to the National Institute of Health, Office for Dietary Supplements recommends taking between 400 - 800 IU daily. Although this might differ according to age and underlying medical conditions.
This range can also vary according to guidelines and regulations of different countries, which is why it’s important to follow the advice of your doctor to help manage your vitamin D levels optimally to avoid suffering from under or overdosing on supplements.
Vitamin D deficiency manifests itself in different symptoms including:13
Unfortunately, these symptoms can go be hard to pin down to the source and may go unnoticed for several years without being treated leading to severe complications for children or adults.
Although it depends on the cause and degree of deficiency, generally, vitamin D deficiency is treated by giving 6000 IU daily or 50,000 IU weekly. This can be further tuned down to 1000-2000 IU daily once the concentration of vitamin D reaches 30ng/mL in the body.
In extremely rare cases, we can see toxicity from taking too many vitamin D supplements for an extended period of months. When you have accumulated vitamin D in your body you have also built-up calcium with it, this, in turn, leads to a condition named ‘hypercalcemia’ which manifests itself in the following symptoms:14
And can further extend to outstanding complications like liver toxicity and kidney failure.
There’s no doubt that vitamin D is one of the notable topics nowadays due to its great benefits and promising therapeutic potential. Although there’s a consistent need for more clinical studies to discover its mechanism in detail and eliminate all myths circulating around it, so far, it shows great promise in treating skeletal health —as proven by science.
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