Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is a fat soluble vitamin that is required to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorous that promote overall bone health and bone structure. Vitamin D3 is synthesized in human skin upon exposure to ultraviolet(UVB) radiation from sunlight.
Nutritional sources of Vitamin D3 are:
- Oily fish : 3 ounces of cooked pink salmon provides 444 IU of vitamin D3; 3 ounces of canned tuna in oil(drained) provides 229 IU of vitamin D3; 3 ounces of sardines in oil(drained) provides 165 IU of vitamin D3.
- One whole egg – cooked/scrambled provides 44 IU of vitamin D3
- Cod liver oil – 5 ml provides 400 IU
The current recommended daily intake of Vitamin D3 : 400-800 IU DAILY in those who are healthy.
Apart from its role in bone health, other health benefits of Vitamin D3 are:
- Reduces the risk of the following diseases:
- Multiple sclerosis (Journal of American Medical Association 2006)
- Heart Disease (Circulation – published in 2008)
- Flu (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – pub in 2010).
- Regulates mood and ward off depression.
- Boosts weight loss: this was discovered in a study that compared a group taking daily calcium and vitamin D3 supplements were found to lose weight more than the placebo group.
- Regulates insulin level and aids diabetes management.
- Prevents cancer: Vitamin D3 was found to influence the expression of gene involved in cancer development. Calcitriol(hormonally active form of vitamin D3) were found to reduce cancer progression by slowing growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue and thereby increase cancer cell death and reduce cell proliferation and metastases.
Common signs and symptoms of Vitamin D3 deficiency are:
- Ease of fatigue
- Muscle aches and pain that are not relieved by massage or medication
- General sense of poor well-being
- Severe bone/muscle pain or weakness that causes poor balance, abnormal gait, and difficulty in climbing stairs or getting off from the floor.
Many studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D3 poses higher risk of developing heart disease, several types of cancer-particularly colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type I diabetes, muscle weakness and risk of falls.
The risk factors of vitamin D3 deficiency are commonly found in people with dark skin, elderly age group, being overweight or obese, low consumption of fish or dairy, living in geographical area where there is inadequate sun exposure, regular use of sunscreen, and staying indoors.
Currently the best way to determine if you have Vitamin D3 deficiency is to do the blood test. This is highly recommended if you are having any of the above symptoms. Determining the blood level will be useful for supplementing adequate dosage to increase the blood level to the optimum level. It is advisable not to take the supplement higher than the recommended daily intake if the blood level of vitamin is not determined to prevent toxicity. Contact us at Meditrina to learn more.