Are vitamin D supplements beneficial to humans or are they a waste of money?
Let’s evaluate this in a scientific manner and discover the answer to the question, “Do vitamin D supplements work?”
Risk factors of vitamin d deficiency
There are several risk factors that may put you at risk of a deficiency of vitamin d:
- dark skin
- depressed or poor mood
- age more than 50
- overweight or obese
- gut conditions - Crohn’s disease, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, IBS
- sunscreen usage
- season - fall and winter
Symptoms and Risks of vitamin d deficiency
Here are the common symptoms, conditions and risks of being vitamin D deficient:
- aching bones and/or sternum when pressed (Osteomalacia or rickets)
- sweaty head
- muscle weakness
- painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- susceptibility to infections
- tooth decay & gum disease
- hearing loss
- higher mortality among older men
- breast cancer in postmenopausal women
- colorectal cancer
- heart disease
- hair loss or thinning
- wounds take longer to heal
- frequent tiredness
- sepsis mortality among postmenopausal women
- depression among elderly people
- lung disease
- metabolic syndrome
- poor bone strength among postmenopausal women
- poor balance in younger Parkinson’s Disease patients
- chronic kidney disease
- dry eyes
Benefits of Vitamin D
The benefits of vitamin D are that it will slash the risk of the conditions and diseases listed above.
With all these symptoms and risk of diseases, it’s obvious that vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the body. Many of the diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency are serious.
Also recent research has shown that obese children lose weight.
Solution to the Problem - How to Get Vitamin D
First let’s see how you can get vitamin D.
You can’t get it from your diet because there’s insufficient quantities in food.
It’s produced by your skin when you are exposed to sunlight. Your skin uses ultraviolet light from the sun to convert cholesterol into vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D synthesized by your skin.
The #1 recommended solution to the problem is to spend time in the sun without sunscreen for short periods of time when the UV index is above 3.
Make sure you don’t get a sunburn though.
If you’re naturally brown or black skinned, you’ll have to spend more time in the sun, because the melanin absorbs the UV light and more time will allow more UV light to penetrate the skin and be able to produce vitamin D.
You need between 600IU to 8,000 IU per day of vitamin D per day in order to achieve serum levels of 40ng/ml. The optimal levels are between 50 - 70 ng/ml.
So whichever brand of Vitamin D3 you buy, make sure you take enough to get the optimal levels.