Where to Start...

With so much misleading information available and sometimes 'not' available, we thought it was about time to simplify Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is now being declared by the Government in the UK as a supplement we should be consuming daily, so let's just get to it.

Why because we live in the United Kingdom?

Of course, our jolly weather means that if you live in the United Kingdom it is near impossible for you to achieve the recommended daily amount of natural sunlight exposure. In conclusion, we just don't have enough sunny days.

Why is this such a 'big thing' now?

It is now becoming widely recognised as necessary to consume additional Vitamin D3. Much as Vitamin D3 is now considered important for the support of so many areas of health and so many aspects of 'normal' body functions. 20 years ago, Vitamin D was not as well known or understood, but Vitamin D3 deficiency is now associated with a wide variety of serious illnesses and mild health conditions. These noted conditions include unhealthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and general immune health. Hundreds of years ago, the majority of us probably spent a great deal more time outdoors. This would apply if we were working class farmers in the fields all day, or wealthy upper class citizens 'taking the air'.

What is the difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D is available in some foods and in different forms; Vitamin D2 and D3. D3 is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. D2 or calciferol is derived from irradiated fungus. This is not the form of Vitamin D naturally made by your body. WebMD nutritionist Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, recommends using the D3 form for those taking vitamin D.

However, some doctors recommend prescribed amounts of Vitamin D2 and don't recommend switching to different forms if on prescription. Personally, I have taken Vitamin D3 5000iu for years. As a results I have naturally long nails and I am spot-free, but what do I know? Consequently I always check Vitamin D supplements to check that they are only Vitamin D3, including multivitamins. Many multivitamins include Vitamin D2 or just state 'Vitamin D' and don't correctly specify.

What strength should I take?

This is where is gets confusing as there are so many different strengths of Vitamin D supplements, and even bigger number of different recommendations of the doses for adults and children.

  • The NHS say that babies up to 1 year old, should take around 3-400iu Vitamin D3 per day, and 1+ years (including adults and pregnant women) should take 400iu per day.
  • In 2010, the Mayo Clinic recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 600iu for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800iu for those over 71 years of age (however, they recommended doses up to 10,000iu for specific conditions and illnesses).
  • American Academy of Paediatrics recommends 400iu  starting soon after birth and continuing through childhood and adolescence.
  • Canadian Cancer Society says a minimum of 1000iu in order to significantly raise an adults Vitamin D level.The Vitamin D Council suggests taking 5,000iu per day for 3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50-80ng/mL (or 125-200 mol/L) year-round.

To sum up, there are so many different recommendations. What is reliably stated throughout the sources, is that it is safe to take up 10,000iu D3 per day. Hence, I have been taking 5,000iu per day for 2 years now and have noticed a significant improvement in my skin and nails. Therefore I wouldn't take anymore unless I felt it wasn't working. Furthermore I would consult a doctor if I noticed any side-effects as a result, but I haven't. I found a brand I thought highly-rated, checked the information they provided and that the supplement didn't conflict with any other supplements I was taking.

Sources
WebMD Health News:
Vitamin D Deficiency Worsens Breast Cancer?
"
Vitamin D Deficiency May Hurt Heart."
Calcium/Vitamin D Slows Weight Gain."
Vitamin D Fights Colon Cancer."
Vitamin D Compounds May Fight Prostate Cancer."
WebMD Feature:
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?"