As the name suggests, vitamin D is one of the vitamins needed in the body for normal body functions. It is essential in maintaining both bone strength and structure. In its deficiency, rickets is developed in children while osteoporosis is developed in adults.
Foods with vitamin D do supply us with a portion of the vitamin amount needed. It is in fact added in some beverages and cereals. However, about 85% of vitamin D supply in most people is gotten from direct sunlight exposure. The fat under the human skin is able to conserve the vitamin D produced through sunlight exposure. For this reason, you are not necessarily needed to stand in the sun consistently or long enough to the extent of having sunburns or using sunscreens.
Vitamin D is also made in the lab and is available as vitamin D supplement. It can be taken by people with weak bones or to treat rickets. Other uses for the vitamin include management of heart-related conditions, diabetes, PMS, dental infections, arthritis and ED management. For men using supplements for increased testosterone such as maca root for men, vitamin D can prove the best supplement to stack with. We will get more details on the uses of vitamin D later in this article.
6 vitamin D benefits
Vitamin D helps in the absorption and availability of phosphorous and calcium. These are two important minerals, without which bones and teeth won’t be strong enough. Below are the most notable vitamin D benefits.
Promotes bone health
Calcium is the main mineral required for the formation of bones. In the intestines, calcium will hardly be absorbed in the absence of vitamin D. Also, a lot of calcium gets excreted from the body through the kidneys. It falls to vitamin D to reclaim the mineral before it can be flushed off in urine.
You will notice poor bone formation in children with a vitamin D deficiency in form of rickets. This is a form of deformation that causes legs bones not to form normally. In adults with low vitamin D levels, they develop weak bones mainly in the femur, spine, and humerus.
Protects from cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular illnesses
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer cells migrating from one organ to another in the body. Research also has it that it can increase sensitivity to insulin, thus aiding in the management of diabetes. From tests ran on people with low vitamin D, it was noted that the risk of heart attacks and cardiac failure were frequent than in people with sufficient vitamin D levels.
Improves muscle functions
The extent to which you will achieve muscle gains has been shown to be dependent on the available levels of vitamin D in the body. This is very important for athletic performers or bodybuilders.
In their early 30s, men are advised to supplement with vitamin D especially when they cannot get enough sunlight exposure. This has something to do with efficient muscle functions promoted by sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body.
Protects from flu
In winter when direct sunlight is rare and influenza attacks are common, children who are given a vitamin D supplement develop some kind of resistance to flu.
Improves pregnancy and infant health
There are a lot of vitamin D benefits related to pregnancy and infancy health. To start with, it has been said that women without enough of the vitamin have higher chances of needing a cesarean operation to deliver. A certain strain of bacteria that causes a vaginal infection is also common in low vitamin D pregnant women.
In infants, deficiency of the vitamin is associated with high risk of atopic childhood diseases. However, too much of the vitamin taken in pregnant women can increase the probability of the child developing allergic reactions.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
There are a number of vitamin D deficiency symptoms that can help you diagnose the condition before it can cause serious effects. They include:
Falling sick often
Frequent cold and flu attacks can be an indication of vitamin D deficiency. You find that the vitamin is involved in a direct interaction with the cells that fight off microbes in the body. Poor respiratory health like clogged nasal cavity and infected bronchitis can also be low vitamin D indications.
A paining back and bones may be indications that you are in need of a vitamin D supplement. The vitamin is needed for the maintenance of healthy bones. Chronic pain occurring in the back, very common in aged people, is almost always linked to low levels of the vitamin in the body.
Fatigue and depression
Reduced metabolism in the body causes chronic fatigue and depression. This is also the case if the correct absorption of important body minerals is not occurring as it should.
Lack of vitamin D will contribute to slowed metabolism. This is especially for people who are overweighted.
Consistent pain in muscles
It is not easy to preempt on an exact cause of pain in the muscles. It has however been shown to be one of vitamin D deficiency symptoms. As you can remember, we identified improved muscle functions as one of the vitamin’s benefits.
Loss of hair and bone degradation
Individuals with rickets have been found to also be in a higher risk of developing a condition known as Alopecia areata. This is a condition that promotes extreme loss of hair.
For people who have been diagnosed with bone loss, supplementing with calcium is most recommended. However, it still needs that vitamin D be supplemented with to aid in absorption and maintenance of calcium.
Testosterone is a male hormone that promotes most of the male characteristics that begin in adolescence. In its deficiency, symptoms such as low appetite for sex, lack of muscle mass and weak bones are experienced.
Vitamin D supplement and other good sources
Let’s have a look at some good sources and how to get vitamin D.
Taking a vitamin D supplement is perhaps the best and quickest way to deal with vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Any typical multivitamin for men will act as vitamin D source.
On average, you will utilize 600IU of vitamin D in a day. This measurement may even double depending on the daily activities you engage in the most.
Any good multivitamin will contain this value or higher. The good thing is that you can buy them on health stores over the counter. It will also contain many other vitamins that are also essential in the body. With vitamins, a deficiency in one can also contribute to the deficiency in another. It is therefore important that you supplement with a multivitamin to get most of them at a go.
Vitamin D is present in a couple of foods that we will discuss briefly below. Unlike some vitamins and minerals which may be available in large amounts in foods, this vitamin is very selectively available. Even worse, foods with vitamin D may never give you enough of the vitamin as it is needed.
Baskin in the morning sun for about 20 minutes can give you the amount of vitamin D present in a meal rich in the same vitamin. Our skins are naturally made in a way that they can convert a certain UV sun ray into a precursor of vitamin D. It is then taken to the liver where conversion into the actual vitamin D occurs.
People who wear ‘full’ clothes may not get the best out of this natural vitamin D source. Also, individuals with dark pigmented skins may require a longer exposure time to get enough of the vitamin.
Athletic performers and bodybuilders will in most cases require all these three good sources of vitamin D. In fact, additional supplements may still be needed. For example, if you are to look at Muira puama benefits, you will notice that it is said to increase body energy and stamina. It doesn’t, however, promote healing of wounds and strong bones. If you were to use the supplements together, very desirable body building and athletic performance results can be achieved.
Treating low vitamin D level with foods and drops
Foods with vitamin D can be used in the long-term management of low vitamin D level. This is especially in parts of the parts of the world where quality direct sunlight is rare. This is also the case in winters. Although foods with vitamin D may not succeed in treating a deficiency for the vitamin, they should be included in your diets.
Since vitamin D is almost equally important as calcium is in the body, we will look at foods with vitamin D and those with calcium. Taking the foods in the same meals will be very helpful.
Foods with calcium include:
- White beans
- Seafood such as salmon and perch
- Beverages and fortified cereals; you can look at the list of ingredients provided to see the amount of vitamin D contained in a certain juice brand or cereals.
Foods with vitamin D include:
- Seafood such as tuna and salmon
- Liver (beef)
- Fortified products such as most juice brands, cereals and dairy products.
For babies, vitamin D drops might prove a better option. Administering the drops only requires you to add them to baby’s meal. You can also give them directly from your fingertip. Most of them do not have a taste, so you will not have to worry about your baby rejecting the drops.
Let’s now look at the recommended quantity of calcium you should take:
- For children over the age of 1 year but below 3 years, a maximum of 700mg can be used
- Those below 8 years, maximum of 1000mg can be used
- Below 18 years, maximum of 1300mg can be used
- From 19 to 70 years, 1000mg should be used. Above that, 1200mg can be used.
Vitamin D can be taken in 600IU from the age of 1 year to 70 years. Above that, the dosage can be increased to 800IU.
In some cases, a doctor will recommend a higher dosage depending on the cause. It is, therefore, to seek medical attention in the advent of the symptoms of low vitamin D level.
Correct vitamin D dosage and side effects
Correct vitamin D dosage will depend on what you are using it for. It will also depend on what other supplements you are taking at the moment. For example, you may also be taking zinc tablets for male enhancement. Here are some guidelines for the correct vitamin D dosage:
- Use 1200 IU dosage daily to fight or prevent the occurrence of flu.
- For boosted immunity including preventing forms of cancer, a 14mg dosage is recommended.
- 750 IU on average has been used to treat weak bones in adults. You can start with a lower dosage of 400 IU and increase it up to 1000IU per day depending on the results.
- To promote bone health, including preventing from fall, use a calcium supplement of about 10g plus 800IU vitamin D dosage per day.
- For women with PMS, 1000IU of vitamin D dosage has been observed to work effectively.
A doctor can prescribe the best dosage for you depending on the condition you are aiming to treat. You can also be prescribed to take other supplements such as ginseng supplement for even better results.
Supplementing with vitamin D is relatively safe. Most people will not experience side effects unless the supplement is taken in excess.
Potential side effects include:
- Slowed metabolism
- Dry mouth
- Stomach upset
- Metallic taste
- Sleeping disorders
- Lost appetite
Too much vitamin D in the blood can increase calcium levels to undesired limits. Although calcium is essential in the body, too much of it will contribute to weakened bones and immunity. It can also cause kidney damage and liver impairment.
Only a doctor should administer vitamin D doses reaching 4000IU. This is only to be used short-term. Patients with conditions such as atherosclerosis and TB should get medical advice first before supplementing with vitamin D. Too much calcium in the blood can complicate such conditions.
Vitamin D is very important in many aspects. Rather than curing already developed conditions such as rickets and weak bones in adults, it is best that the vitamin is supplied to the body sufficiently.
You can get enough of the vitamin by busking in the sun for about 20 minutes. You can also get the vitamin in foods, which work best when taken together with foods that contain calcium.
Supplements containing the vitamin are the quickest way you can fight low vitamin D level when it occurs.
It is always good to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you are on other medications including herbal ones such as Yohimbe supplement.