Should you take vitamin D supplements? Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and teeth, proper growth, a healthy immune system, proper regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure.(1,7) There is a major push to convince us that we need more vitamin D than we realized and that optimal health cannot be achieved unless we take several times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for this vitamin. The controversy centers around the recommended blood level of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to be more involved in gene expression then previously realized. This means that Vitamin D helps to determine which genes are turned on and which ones are turned off. Therefore, this vitamin becomes very important to our health. So, it is advisable to maintain an optimum blood serum level of vitamin D in order to make sure all of your genes are experessed as they should be. This may be true, but we still do not know what blood level of vitamin D is ideal for this function. Additionally, the average person does not get his or her blood serum level of vitamin D measured. Most insurance companies do not pay for this type of blood work, and even if they did, a doctor's visit would be needed. This, also, will cost money. Even if you did get your vitamin D level measured, we still do not know what the optimum level should be.

    The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IUs for adults. The average diet provides about 250 IUs.(6) This may give you cause for concern, but realize that we produce our own vitamin D in our skin, when it is exposed to sunlight. The average diet will give you a serum Vitamin D level of about 30 to 50 mmol/L, depending on how much sun you get. Some researchers have established that the optimum serum level of vitamin D is 50 mmol/L.(1) Some say that it is 75, and some say it is 100.(6) In order to reach a serum base line of 50-75 mmol/L, you need to take between 1000 IU and 2500 IUs per day. Some researchers are recommending 4000 IUs per day and some recommend between 5000 and 10,000. All of these people ignore the fact that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and excess amounts of the vitamin are stored in our fat cells. Vitamin D is not excreted in our urine, like excess amounts of vitamin C, and the B vitamins. Excess Vitamin D just accumulates and accumulates and stays in your fat cells until it is needed.

    There are two types of vitamins, water soluble, and fat soluble. The fat soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. Large doses of these vitamins should be taken with caution and under the close supervision of a physician. Why? Regardless of the potential health benefits, fat soluble vitamins come with a Jekyll and Hyde warning. Mild supplementation can provide many health benefits. These are the Dr. Jekyll effects. Then, you are tempted to up the dose, to achieve even more benefits. In high doses, the vitamin turns on you and turns you into a Mr. Hyde with grotesque features that you definintely do not want. A moderate amount of the vitamin is good, but large doses can actually do you harm.

    Vitamin D supplementation between 600 IUs and 1000 IUs will help you maintain healthy bones and teeth.(5) Your genes will also be able to express themselves as they were designed to do, and you will protect yourself from developing diabetes and hypertension. However, if you take more vitamin D than that, you risk storing excess vitamin D in your fat cells. This excess will just continue to accumulate as long as you are taking your excess dose of vitamin D. Eventually, calcium deposits start forming in your muscles, tendons, bones and kidneys. You will start experiencing unexplained muscle and bone pain.(2) This pain is not a small matter. It becomes debilitating, almost cripling. You can also develop kidney stones. This, also, is extremely uncomfortable, painful, and will lead to permanent bodily damage. If you are taking more than 1000 IUs of vitamin D per day, and you are not experiencing any of these symptoms, you have read this article in time. You have time to stop taking vitamin D for several months and allow your body to recover and adjust before any permanent damage is done. Then, resume, if you must, taking vitamin D supplements, but not exceeding 1000 IUs per day.

    So, do you need a stand alone supplement, or can you just take a multivitamin that contains Vitamin D? Consider this. A supplement containing just Vitamin D, will contain far more than the RDA. A multivitamin, on the other hand, is likely to only contain 100% of the RDA for each vitamin it contains. The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IUs per day. You will get an average of 250 IUs from your diet, and you will get an additional 150 IUs from minimal exposure to the sun. That adds up to 1000 IUs per day. Imagine that! If you take a multivitamin that has 100% of the RDA for Vitamin D, you end up getting 1000 IUs per day, which maximizes your blood serum level at 50 to 75 mmol/L without risking a build up of vitamin D in your fat cells. So, a simple and inexpensive multivitamin from any drug or grocery store should provide you with exactly what you need. It won't be too much, or too little, or too expensive. One word of caution. You should get the vitamin that carries Vitamin D3. This is the form that your body can actually absorb and utilize. Any other form of Vitamin D is a waste of your money and effort.

    That's the long and short of it. It is the unadulterated truth of the matter. Vitamin D is important, but it is not worth risking your life for. Moderation in all things applies here, as it will apply in most nutritional issues. This may not be as exciting as thinking that you are achieving superior health through the secret means of vitamin D supplements. You are, however, way ahead of anyone that is not paying attention to their health and nutrition. Time will tell. Give your body what it needs, and it will function at peak performance for a much longer time than most people, and you will never look your age. Take care of your body, and you will always look good and feel good.

Reference Links:
1. National Institues of Health
2. Mayo Clinic
3. Wikipedia
4. WebMD
5. Vitamin D Council
6. University of Maryland Medical Center
7. Linus Pauling Institute

 


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