VITAMIN D3 Tablet:
Vitamin D (ergocalciferol-D2, cholecalciferol-D3, alfacalcidol) is a vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and bone mineralize. It is a fat soluble vitamin that needs to be supplemented because it can't be synthesized in the human body by themselves.
What is Vitamin D3?
It's one type of vitamin D, which is usually called cholecalciferol. In foods, this nutrient exists in two forms: ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3). Most experts recommend that adults get 600 IU/day of D3 from foods or supplements. The average daily intake for people consuming a full range of food products is about 250-500 IU/day in the United States and somewhat higher intakes are found elsewhere worldwide.
How is Vitamin D3 made?
Vitamin D (originally called calciferol) is made in your skin when sunlight hits your skin. The vitamin comes in two forms: ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3). Some foods contain only one form, but foods high in D3 are typically fortified with the other form. When you eat certain foods or supplements, vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestine and converted to cholecalciferol which then circulates in the blood. Cholecalciferol is then used to support bone mineralization. The liver and kidneys also play important roles in vitamin D metabolism.
What is Vitamin D3 Used For?
Vitamin D3 is regularly used to supplement calcium and phosphorus in persons with osteoporosis, hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium in the blood), hypophosphatemia (low levels of phosphorus in the blood), or rickets.
Low vitamin D levels can cause thin, soft bones (osteomalacia) and a condition that makes it hard for the kidneys to collect urine (nephrocalcinosis). When you have severe kidney failure, your doctor may prescribe a large dose of vitamin D3 each day. However, this practice has been linked with a higher risk of death from heart disease.
Insufficient vitamin D levels (hypovitaminosis D) can result in bone pain and muscle weakness because of low levels of calcium. The most common causes of this deficiency are inadequate dietary intake and lack of exposure to sunlight. If a person with hypovitaminosis D receives adequate calcium and phosphorus in the diet, he or she will still develop symptoms of hypocalcemia but will not suffer from rickets.
Vitamin D3 is also used to treat nutritional rickets. It is also used to prevent rickets in breastfed infants whose mothers have a vitamin D deficiency; however, breast milk may already be a good source for this nutrient.
If you take vitamin D supplements, you should make sure to take a D3 supplement that is at least as large as your prescription. That way, any extra vitamin D will be discarded (meaning you won't get too much in the blood or get an overdose if the vitamin is taken by mistake). In addition, your health care provider will probably tell you to avoid taking more than 2,000 IU of regular vitamin D every day because this may result in toxicity. For example, some people who have kidney stones should avoid taking more than 3,000 IU/day of vitamin D.
What to Look for in a Vitamin D3 Product?
Vitamin D3 is available in several different forms. These include the following:
Vitamin D3 (ergocalciferol). This is the most common form of vitamin D and is often used in multivitamins. Vitamin D2. This less active form of vitamin D is found in some fortified breakfast cereals and other foods. Cholecalciferol (D3). This form of vitamin D3 is usually taken as an oral supplement to help calcium absorption and maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Calcidiol. Also known as 25-hydroxycalcidiol, this form of vitamin D3 is used to maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Calcitriol. Also known as 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, this form is used to treat hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium in the blood) and hypophosphatemia (low levels of phosphorus in the blood).
How to Take Vitamin D3 Supplements?
Before Taking Vitamin D3 Supplements: If you are taking a prescription medication that contains vitamin D, you should ask your health care provider whether it is safe for you to take a vitamin D supplement as well. If you take vitamin D supplements, you should make sure to take a D3 supplement that is at least as large as your prescription.
How to Take Vitamin D3 (Dosage): The usual dose of vitamin D3 is 1,000 IU/day for most adults and 2,000 IU/day for older adults. However, these recommended daily amounts may be too low for many people. Although there is no known toxic dose for vitamin D, individuals with malabsorption issues may have trouble absorbing more than 4,000 IU/day of this nutrient by mouth. To ensure that your body can absorb the vitamin it needs from supplements, avoid taking them on an empty stomach and always take them with food.
If you have been diagnosed with an underlying condition that prevents you from absorbing vitamin D in the gut, you may need higher doses. Follow your doctor's instructions and do not exceed the amount of vitamin D that your health care provider prescribes. It is also important to know that vitamin D can interact with a number of medications, so make sure to tell your health care provider about all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications you take before starting any type of vitamin supplementation.
No significant side effects are known for people who take 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 by mouth. However, when adults exceed this amount, they may experience nausea, fatigue, or constipation. In addition, some people have reported liver problems when taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 may interact with several medications. For example, it can impair the absorption of magnesium and iron if taken at the same time. In addition, it can increase the blood levels of certain drugs such as amitriptyline (Elavil), cyclosporine (Sandimmune), and warfarin (Coumadin). If you plan to take vitamin D supplements or have been told to do so by your health care provider, make sure to let your doctor know about all prescription and OTC medications you are currently taking so that he or she can determine whether they may interact with vitamin D.
When taking vitamin D3, you should be aware of potential complications. For instance, taking too much vitamin D may cause kidney stones, which is a condition that occurs when the kidneys contain small amounts of calcium or other minerals. In addition, excessive intake of vitamin D has been linked with an increased risk of death from heart disease.
Vitamin D3 supplements can lead to toxic side effects because the body converts it into a hormone called calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol). Calcitriol has been associated with hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood), which can cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. In addition, calcitriol can lead to muscle weakness and bone changes; however, the most common side effect is diarrhea. In some cases, this type of side effect may be severe enough to cause dehydration.
Some people who have kidney stones may experience stomach pain or distress (nausea) if they take high doses of vitamin D3 supplements. Also, high doses of vitamin D3 can lead to hypercalcemia (an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood), which can cause nausea and vomiting. In addition, there are no known toxic doses for vitamin D3, so taking more than 4,000 IU/day may cause toxicity.
In some cases, people who take high doses of vitamin D3 may develop kidney stones. However, the only way to know for sure if you have this condition is to get a blood test. If your kidneys do not function properly due to kidney stones, or if you take high-dose vitamin D3 supplements, your health care provider will probably recommend stopping vitamin D supplements until the condition resolves.
Vitamin D3 supplements may also interact with medications that contain calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, felodipine) or antidiabetic agents (e.g., glyburide).
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Vitamin D is safe for most pregnant and breastfeeding women, as long as they do not take excessive amounts of it. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider before starting any vitamin supplement.
Vitamin D3 supplements can help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes if administered intravenously. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes may benefit from taking vitamin D3 supplements because they appear to decrease the risk of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).
In one study, people who took vitamin D3 supplements had lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) than those who did not take the supplement. CRP is a marker of inflammation and is often elevated in people with heart disease. People with elevated levels of CRP are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, or die from cardiovascular diseases. In addition, another study found that people who were taking vitamin D supplements had lower LDL cholesterol levels than those who were not taking them. People with type 2 diabetes typically have higher LDL cholesterol levels than other adults, so it is important that they monitor this level carefully if they are receiving vitamin D3 supplements.
There is limited evidence that vitamin D can help slow brain degeneration in older people with dementia. Some people may be able to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by taking vitamin D3 supplements. However, there is not enough evidence to recommend a specific amount of vitamin D3 for brain health.
Vitamin D3 can improve the health and appearance of teeth, making it a good supplement option for people who brush their teeth frequently. Adults with low levels of vitamin D in their blood may be more likely to develop dental decay or gum disease than those with adequate levels, so taking high-dose vitamin D supplements could improve oral health. However, there is no need to take doses that exceed those found in dietary sources (2,000 IU/day).
People with vitamin D insufficiency are more likely to develop cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), which may lead to vision loss. However, taking vitamin D3 supplements may not provide any benefit in people who already have cataracts.
Heart Disease and Stroke:
Vitamin D3 can help prevent these conditions in adults by reducing inflammation. There is also evidence that suggests that low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of both heart disease and stroke. According to one study, people who have lower levels of vitamin D in the blood at the time of stroke have a higher risk of death from the condition than people with normal blood levels.
People who have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop high blood pressure and heart disease than those with adequate levels. This means that people with diabetes who do not get enough sun exposure (or if they spend too much time indoors) may need to take higher doses of vitamin D supplements to ward off these conditions.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS):
The authors of a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Neurology concluded that vitamin D3 supplements may improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis and reduce disease-related disability. In addition, another study showed that vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Most people with MS have low levels of vitamin D, which is associated with other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. This suggests that supplementing with high-dose vitamin D3 supplements could help people with MS.
Vitamin D3 (ergocalciferol) may help prevent seizures in adults who have epilepsy. However, seizure control in adults is usually best achieved by treating the underlying condition and not with vitamin D supplements.
Kidney Stones: High doses of vitamin D3 may interfere with the way the body's kidneys filter out certain chemical elements from the blood that may cause kidney stones.
High Doses of Vitamin D for Kids: The National Institutes of Health recommends that healthy children up to age 1 do not take more than 2,000 IU (International Units) per day of vitamin D3 from any source. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that healthy children up to age 5 take no more than 4,000 IU (International Units) per day. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are 1 to 3 years of age take no more than 2,000 IU (International Units) per day. The National Institutes of Health also states that children up to age 5 should not take multivitamins that contain vitamin D.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults who live in regions with less than 30 minutes of sunlight per day (e.g., indoors or under an overcast sky) take no more than 2,000 IU (International Units) per day and those who regularly spend more than 3 hours a day in the sun should not get more than 5,000 IU (International Units) a day from any source.
If you are taking more than the recommended amount, talk with your doctor. Taking too much vitamin D may cause health problems. High doses of vitamin D should be avoided if you have kidney problems, liver disease, high calcium intake, or if you are pregnant or lactating and may affect the baby.
Vitamin D3 and 5-α-Dihydrotestosterone (a.k.a. "DHT") are both produced by your body. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is stored in the body's fat tissues while vitamin D3 is an oil soluble vitamin that cannot be stored in the body's fat tissues and must be replenished regularly by consuming foods or supplements containing vitamin D (such as fish oils). Vitamin D3 does not increase male sex hormones such as testosterone