Vitamin D is essential for bone health but it also is recognized for other important health benefits, such as maintaining gut health and cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation and boosting mood. The D vitamins are fat-soluble vitamins that help regulate the absorption of calciumDietary supplement used to promote bones, muscles, and heart to function properly. Bones in the body do not producer calcium, although it can be taken through foods and vitamins. Calcium in the bloodstream is used to send nerve signals, release hormones like insulin and regulate how muscles and blood vessels contract and dilate. and phosphate in the body and help maintain bone health and immune systemimmune system : the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies. function.
Vitamin D is a unique type of vitamin because it is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin. Along with vitamin K2Vitamin K2 activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism, and heart health. This is important for the calcification of bones and prevents the calcification of blood vessels and kidneys because it regulates calcium deposition., vitamin D plays a crucial role in synthesizing calcium.
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Your body produces vitamin D after exposure to the sun. Only about 10% of our consumption of vitamin D comes from food, including juice and dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D. The committee advising the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on its 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines warns that American diets are lacking in vitamin D, potassium, calcium and fiber. For information on the 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, visit our blog article “U.S. Dietary Committee: Diets Lack Vitamin D, Fiber, Calcium, Potassium.”
Vitamin D is not readily available in most foods like other vitamins often are. Because of this, it’s estimated that nearly 75% of people worldwide have some kind of deficiency.
Vitamin D Studied in COVID-19 Severity
The global medical community is looking to vitamin D deficiency and its relationship to COVID-19 severity and mortality.
Severe vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID-19COVID-19 \ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn : a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets), and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. was associated with a significantly higher mortality risk than COVID-19 patients with normal vitamin D levels in a retrospective study in Italy. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, data from Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals demonstrated that people who were deficient in vitamin D were more likely to require intensive care with COVID-19 than those who were not. Only 19% of patients in ICU had vitamin D levels over 20 ng/ML compared to 39% of those hospitalized that did not require intensive care. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with risk of acute respiratory infections during winter.
There is also a compelling body of evidence demonstrating that severe Vitamin D deficiency is associated with cardiovascular disorders.
How Do You Know if You are Vitamin D Deficient?
Our skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is vital to improving immune function so that your body can resist viral infections.
As much as 35% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Most people’s serum vitamin D levels drop during the winter months, which is also cold and flu season, with the last part of winter being the lowest point.
Excessive fatigue and tiredness may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Other symptoms include joint pain, back ache, depression, frequent infections or illness, and hair loss.
The only way to know your Vitamin D level is through a blood test, which you can do from home. A healthy vitamin D level is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL.
Vitamin D deficiency affects men and women of all age groups and races; however, age, skin pigmentation, weight and lack of sunlight appear to be factors. Vitamin D deficiency is more common among people over 65, those who are Black or of Asian origin and people with darker skin, those whose nutrition is lacking in fish and dairy, and individuals with a high body mass index (BMI) or obesity. 50-60% of nursing home residents are vitamin D deficient.
Which is Better, Vitamin D2 or D3?
When people refer to Vitamin D, they are usually referring to Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 and D3 are essentially the same; however, D3 supplements are recommended as more effective, even though D2 is typically prescribed by doctors.
D3 is found in animal sources including fish oil, liver, egg yolks, cheese, yogurt, fish and shellfish, and fortified juices. Vitamin
There are many health benefits to vitamin supplementation, but your doctor should use lab tests to recommend the amount of you should take and in which form.
Daily intake that is sufficient to maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism in healthy people is 600 to 800 IU per day, while 4,000 IU per day is considered the safe upper limit. You should not take vitamin D supplements if you have had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have high levels of calcium or vitamin D in your body.
D2 is plant-based, a product of wild mushrooms and other fungi.
Studies have shown that D3 supplements may be superior in raising the body’s stores. According to a 2017 NIH study comparing D2 and D3 supplementation, “We found that the increase in D3 level was 2–3 fold higher than the increase in D2 level (in the 2-weekly and 4-weekly treated groups)” although there was some variability based on gender and body mass index.
A 2019 randomized trial in Dubai comparing the efficacy of D2 and D3 found that “after 8 weeks of treatment, the improvement in Vitamin D level was greater for patients in the D3 group. Vitamin D3 is more efficacious and faster in increasing the level of total Vitamin D2. However, no significant differences were evident on calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, or PTH levels between groups.”
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