itamin D3, also called cholecalciferol is a fat-soluble vitamin, also known as secosteroid with an endocrine mechanism of action that is sequentially synthesized in humans in the skin, liver and kidneys.
The interest in vitamin D supplementation began with the discovery in the early 1920s that vitamin D prevented rickets. Recent studies have further driven the recognition of vitamin D in non-skeletal outcomes, including immune function, heart health, mood balance, muscle strength.
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin because it is the only vitamin that can be made in your skin from exposure to sunlight. Hence goes the name ‘sunshine vitamin’.
Vitamin D receptor is present in most cells and tissues in the body and is involved in a number of biological roles.
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D for adults through age 70 is 600 IU, with RDA increasing to 800 IU above the age of 70.
ZENITH NUTRITION VITAMIN D3
Zenith Nutrition vitamin D3 is a high potency superior vegetarian dietary supplement which provides 400 IU of vitamin D3 (sourced from lichen) per serving. The GMP-certified supplement has gone through extensive testing to validate purity and potency. The supplement is free of gluten, corn, soy, flavour, sugar, dairy, yeast and preservatives.
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY OF VITAMIN D
Decreased absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus.
Pain in the back and muscles
WHO NEEDS TO SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN D3?
1. People with dark skin (who have a large amount of pigment melanin in the epidermal layer of the skin which reduces skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight).
2. People staying indoors (who don’t get enough exposure to sunlight).
3. People who keep their skin covered always or those who use sunscreen often.
4. People who are obese
5. Older individuals (who are at a high risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency due to aging).
6. People with fat malabsorption (in some with liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease).
7. Alcoholics, smokers, those who suffer from nutritional deficiencies as a result of dietary inadequacy, those who follow veganism
8. Post-menopausal women
9. Individuals prone to long term medication
10. People who have lactose intolerance
WHAT IS THE NEED TO SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN D3?
Vitamin D3 is linked with many of the body’s biological processes and is required for our healthy living. It may not be possible to get all the vitamin D we need from diet alone or getting adequate sunlight exposure may not be possible always, daily vitamin D supplementation will help get us the required amounts of the vitamin.
HOW TO KNOW YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT VITAMIN D LEVELS IN YOUR BODY?
The only possible way to know if you are getting enough vitamin D is through a specific blood test (to measure calcifediol levels), which is very expensive and hence can’t be routinely done. If you suffer from any of the deficiency symptoms listed above, you must consider supplementing with vitamin D.
WHAT ARE THE FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN D?
Fatty fish, fish liver oils are the best sources of vitamin D3. Smaller amounts are also found in egg yolks, cheese. Certain mushrooms contain vitamin D2. Dairy products and some of the cereals are known to be fortified with vitamin D.
HOW IS VITAMIN D3 SYNTHESIZED IN THE SKIN?
Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol following exposure to UV radiation with wavelength 290 to 320 nm.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONSUME VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT?
Since vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, it best absorbed into your bloodstream when paired with high-fat foods. It is recommended to take a vitamin D3 supplement with a meal to enhance its absorption.
WHICH IS BETTER VITAMIN D2 OR VITAMIN D3?
There is an ongoing debate about whether cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is better or ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) at increasing blood levels of the vitamin. Both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are absorbed into the bloodstream where they are metabolized by the liver into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 respectively or collectively calcifediol. Several meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials compared the effects of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplements on blood levels in vitamin D deficient people. The studies have concluded that vitamin D3 is superior in boosting higher 25D levels, which leads to a higher contribution to the body’s vitamin D stores.
VITAMIN D3 OPTIMIZES BONE HEALTH
Vitamin D3 supports strong bones by acting as an essential cofactor for calcium absorption. If calcium is termed essential for bone health, vitamin D is responsible for getting bones the calcium. Vitamin D3 regulates levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood which are required for stronger, healthy bones. Proper levels of vitamin D3 in the body avoids the risk of bone fractures and decreased musculoskeletal functions. Research has revealed that inadequate vitamin D intakes over long periods of time can lead to bone mineralization. Sub-optimal vitamin D status which is particularly noted among the elderly not only leads to the decreased calcium absorption but leads to release of calcium from the bones in order to maintain circulating calcium concentrations. Continued resorption weakens the bones and increases the risks of osteoporosis.
VITAMIN D3 BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
Having a strong immune system is like having strong protection from foreign, invading organisms. Deficiency in vitamin D is revealed by studies to be associated with increased susceptibility to infections. There are 2 types of the immune system, innate (non-specific immune response) and adaptive (acquired immunity) immune system. Vitamin D helps modulate both systems, which explains how it has a wide effect on the immune system.
Vitamin D3 has a role in boosting our immune system by turning on the key peptides that trigger an anti-microbial response. Vitamin D3 inhibits B cell proliferation, activates T cells that are responsible for immune response.
VITAMIN D3 SUPPORTS MUSCLE STRENGTH
Vitamin D3 is known to be of prime importance to musculoskeletal health. In vitamin D insufficiency, muscle function and physical performance may be impaired. Active levels of vitamin D3 in the bloodstream is found to improve muscle function. A recent analysis have concluded that falls were the biggest contributor to fractures and vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness and an increased pre-disposition for falling. In vitro evidence has demonstrated that vitamin D can increase protein synthesis and cellular growth in muscle cells with an increase in type 2 muscle fibers, which are the chief muscle fibers recruited to prevent a fall. Further, vitamin D is known to regulate absorption of phosphorus, which is associated with strength of muscle fibers.
VITAMIN D3 MAY PREVENT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Vitamin D3 has a potential role in preventing cardiovascular disease. Some research studies have suggested that individuals with low levels of vitamin D have increased risks of heart ailments. Vitamin D3 offers long-term protection to heart health in this manner.
By preventing vascular calcification
By regulating blood pressure levels
By reducing inflammation and contributing to smooth vascular muscle function
By regulating insulin sensitivity
VITAMIN D3 BENEFITS MOOD
Vitamin D3 performs as an essential nutrient in the body for the production of neurotransmitters. Recent studies has revealed the interlink between cognitive impairment and vitamin D3 deficiency. Low 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels have been linked to increased incidences of depression, mood disorders, aging depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment. Supplementing with vitamin D3 is known to offer benefits to regulating cognitive performance. Vitamin D is known to affect dopamine and pro-inflammatory cytokines, vitamin D binds to vitamin D receptors present in the central nervous system and thus regulates the brain neuronal functions.