Vitamin D3 is produced in the United States to meet the finest-quality standards for optimal absorption of this vital nutrient. Vitamin D is a pre-hormone, meaning it has no hormone activity until it is converted by the liver and kidneys into the active steroid hormone 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D (Calcitrol). Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin by UVB irradiation delivered from sunlight. Unfortunately, concerns about sun exposure, along with living in environments with minimal amounts of sunlight, can lead to deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to imbalanced blood pressure. A national survey collected analyses from 12,644 people to review the differences between vitamin D deficiency and blood pressure levels between 1988 and 1994. Findings suggested that blood pressure imbalances were significantly common in individuals with vitamin D deficiencies.
Vitamin D levels were measured in 34 middle-aged men in relation to blood pressure finding individuals with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have imbalanced blood pressure and other cardiovascular ailments.
An eight-week study administered vitamin D3 (800 IU) and calcium (1200 mg), or calcium (1200 mg per day) and a placebo, to 148 women with low vitamin D levels. Results indicated a combination of vitamin D3 and calcium was more effective in normalizing blood pressure.
An absence of sun exposure increases vitamin D deficiencies. These deficiencies are widely seen among individuals living in high northern latitudes. Research suggests in the absence of sun exposure, vitamin D3 (1,000 IU per day) should be supplemented to decrease bone fracture risks.
Several studies have reviewed the effects of vitamin D on bone health. A meta-analysis from 1966 to 2006 found Vitamin D research is typically focused on bone health and fracture risks in the older adult population.
Similarly, another review of vitamin D3 and hip fracture prevention explored studies from 1960 to 2005. Researchers concluded that 700 to 800 IU per day of vitamin D supplementation lessened the risk of hip fractures in elderly individuals, whereas vitamin D doses of 400 IU per day or less were insufficient in reducing fracture risks.
The relation between vitamin D3 deficiency and bone fracture risks among postmenopausal women was reviewed from 1985 to 2005. Overall, the risk of fractures was lower in subjects that took a vitamin D3 supplement.
A twelve-week observational study reviewed the effects of vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation on healing weak, fractured bones. Thirty women with bone fractures were selected to take vitamin D3 (800 IU) and calcium (1,000 mg) or a placebo. In six weeks, bone mineral density was higher in the vitamin D3/calcium group, when compared to the placebo group. Researchers suggested supplementation was beneficial in improving bone mineral density.
Bone loss and the bone turnover rate are reduced more in the winter possibly due to less contact with vitamin D3 from sun exposure. A twelve-month study gave 55 healthy adults vitamin D3 (500 IU per day) and calcium (500 mg per day) supplementation or a placebo during the winter months of October to April in southwestern Germany. Results indicated vitamin D3/calcium prevented bone loss commonly seen in the winter.
Another study reviewed seasonal vitamin D deficiencies in 54 male adolescents (13 to 16 years old) by measuring vitamin D blood levels in the summer and winter. After serum levels were determined, subjects took vitamin D3 during the winter months to maintain parathyroid function that typically rises with a vitamin D3 deficiency. Supplementation supported vitamin D levels and parathyroid function during the winter months, as vitamin D levels were restored to similar summertime levels.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to poor collagen production in children's bones leading to inhibited growth and weak cartilage. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency can cause weak muscles and a greater risk of bone deterioration.
A ten-year study examined the effects of higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D in relation to normal cell proliferation in the breast by recruiting 10,578 premenopausal and 20,909 postmenopausal women to confirm their intake of both nutrients. Results indicated a higher intake of calcium/vitamin D was related to normal cell proliferation and breast health.
A decline in colon health can be related to vitamin D deficiency. One study suggested individuals taking a vitamin D supplement (1000 IU/day) had a 50% decrease in risks associated with colon ailments.
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of abnormal cell growth in the colon. Vitamin D blood levels were measured in 803 subjects with prior colon ailments finding patients with low vitamin D levels had a greater risk of contracting reoccurring colorectal risks. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation worked together to reduce the risk of colon ailments.
Vitamin D has a role in maintaining prostate health. Forty-three men with abnormal cell growth in the prostate were recruited to take calcium and vitamin D3 finding supplementation was safe and practical in aiding normal cell growth in the prostate.
Vitamin D3 is involved in the regulation of insulin, as research has shown vitamin D3 supplementation can prevent insulin imbalances later in life. A clinical trial recruited 12,000 pregnant women to give their newborns vitamin D (2000 IU per day) for one year to assess the relationship between supplementation and insulin balance. After one year, children taking vitamin D had a lower risk of developing abnormal insulin levels.
Vitamin D3 levels were measured in 88 individuals with newly developed insulin ailments and 57 healthy subjects finding vitamin D3 deficiency was related to insulin imbalances. Researchers concluded supplementation might prevent insulin weaknesses.
Autoimmune Ailments & Inflammation
Several studies suggest vitamin D reduces the effects of autoimmune illnesses and inflammation, as it may regulate immune-mediated functions that inhibit these ailments.
The relation between chronic inflammation and vitamin D deficiencies in 171 subjects was monitored after one year of vitamin D supplementation. Results indicated supplementation mediated inflammatory conditions that are commonly associated with cardiovascular and insulin ailments.
Studies show that autoimmune ailments are more common among northern regions with less sun exposure; therefore, individuals in these regions have a low intake of vitamin D.20 One study found vitamin D supplementation could decrease the risk of autoimmune ailments in the future when taken in childhood, or even during pregnancy.
Mood Balance/Cognitive Function
Individuals often find a lower mood in the winter months, which may be caused by a decrease in sun exposure and lower vitamin D levels. Forty-four subjects took vitamin D (400 IU or 800 IU) or a placebo for five days. Individuals reported a significant increase in a positive mood.
A birth-cohort study reviewed the benefits of vitamin D on abnormal mental perceptions. Vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU per day) was administered to infants in the first year of life finding the development of abnormal mental function was inversely related to vitamin D supplementation in men, but not in women.
Additional Information – Dosage & Interactions
As a dietary supplement, take one capsule daily, or as directed by a physician.
Up to 5,000 IU per day
The maximum safe dosage of this supplement has not been determined for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease. As with all supplement regimens, please consult your physician prior to use.
Do not take vitamin D if you have lupus. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid supplementing with doses higher than the RDA amount (400 IU), unless prescribed by a physician. Research indicates that the RDA amount of vitamin D is not enough to meet all of your body's needs. To lower health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency, optimal levels may be reached by taking 1000 IU/day. Though optimal amounts of vitamin D may seem high in comparison to the RDA standard, studies have found vitamin D toxicity is unlikely to occur in doses less than 10,000 IU (250 mcg)/day.,
Consult your physician before supplementing with Vitamin D3 if you are taking the following medications.
The following drugs may reduce vitamin D absorption: Orlistat; Cholestyramine; Ketoconazole; Colestipol; Phenobarbital; Phenytoin; Antacids with aluminum.
*Statements made herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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 Meier, C, Woitge, HW, et al. Supplementation with oral vitamin D3 and calcium during winter prevents seasonal bone loss: a randomized controlled open-label prospective trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Aug; 19(8):1221-1230.
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