What you should know about Vitamin D
Winter is upon us, it’s cold, but at least winter sports are fun and holidays make this season bright and festive! What we need to make sure during wintertime, is that we are getting enough Vitamin D. But what does it have to do with winter? It’s very simple, actually our bodies make Vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight! Now, no, I didn’t say Everyone get up and go to Florida for three months…. we can’t all do that. Also, I am not talking about the hot sun, the regular sunlight even in the winter can be enough to make the proper amount of Vitamin D. However, people tend to stay indoors too much due to cold weather and other reasons, leading to a deficiency of Vitamin D.
What is the chemistry of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate andzinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can come from the food we eat or from supplements that we take. The body can make its own vitamin D (specifically cholecalciferol) in the skin, when exposed to the sun. (1)
Which Foods Contain Vitamin D:
fatty fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna
it is added to: dairy products, juices, and cereals (so when you see on the label “fortified with vitamin D”)
Where Does Most of Our Vitamin D Come From:
– 80% to 90% of what the body gets is obtained through exposure to sunlight.
– Vitamin D can is also made into vitamins and people take it
Taking Vitamin D Supplements Helps With (2):
– preventing and treating rickets Vitamin D is also used for
– treating weak bones (osteoporosis)
– treating bone pain (osteomalacia)
– treating bone loss in hyperparathyroidism patients
– treating a genetic disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) in which the bones are especially brittle and easily broken
– preventing falls and fractures in people at risk for osteoporosis
– preventing low calcium and bone loss (renal osteodystrophy) in people with kidney failure.
– used for heart conditions and blood vessels, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol
– also for diabetes, obesity, muscle weakness,multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),asthma, bronchitis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and tooth and gum disease.
– skin conditions including vitiligo, scleroderma, psoriasis, actinic keratosis, and lupus vulgaris.
– boosting the immune system, preventing autoimmune diseases, and preventing cancer.
– it is involved in regulating the levels of minerals such as phosphorous and calcium, it is used for conditions caused by low levels of phosphorous (familial hypophosphatemia and Fanconi syndrome) and low levels of calcium(hypoparathyroidism and pseudohypoparathyroidism).
How does it work?
– Regulates our levels of Calcium and Phosphorus
– Takes a key role in maintaining good bone structure.
How Much Sun Do We Need to get Enough Vitamin D:
– “Exposure of the hands, face, arms, and legs to sunlight two to three times a week for about one-fourth of the time it would take to develop a mild sunburn will cause the skin to produce enough vitamin D. The necessary exposure time varies with age, skin type, season, time of day, etc.” (2)
– During sunny days, vitamin D is stored in fatty fat in our bodies and then gets released into our body when sunlight is gone.
Who Is at Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency:
– those who live up North
– people who stay indoors a lot
– people who overuse sunblock
– Elderly People – “They are less likely to spend time in the sun, have fewer “receptors” in their skin that convert sunlight to vitamin D, may not get vitamin D in their diet, may have trouble absorbing vitamin D even if they do get it in their diet, and may have more trouble converting dietary vitamin D to a useful form due to aging kidneys. In fact, the risk for vitamin D deficiency in people over 65 years of age is very high. Surprisingly, as many as 40% of older people even in sunny climates such as South Florida don’t have enough vitamin D in their systems.” (2)
What Dosage of Vitamin D Supplements is Recommended (3):
Vitamin D is included in most multivitamins, usually in strengths from 50-100 international units (IU). It can be found as softgels, capsules, tablets, and liquids. The new 2010 recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age. An adequate blood level of vitamin D is 20 nanograms per milliliter, which can be achieved through daily skin exposure to sunlight. Levels over 50 nanograms per milliliter may cause side effects.
For dosage recommendations for treatment of specific medical conditions consult your physician and pharmacist.
We, at Kedvon Pharmacy carry a wide variety of forms and doses of Vitamin D, as well as a great selection of other vitamins and supplements. Visit us at our convenient locations in Chicago, Wheeling, and Buffalo Grove!