Get sunshine and get vitamin D3. Human skin makes vitamin D3 when exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun. According to the National Institute of Health, the best food source for vitamin D3 is the fish products, such as: cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and sardines.
Fortified milk, breads, eggs and cereals are lesser vitamin D3 sources. Finally, the tablet or liquid vitamin supplement options with a doctor recommendation can also be a vitamin D3 source.
Benefits of Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 promotes calcium’s absorption and functions for teen’s and children’s healthy teeth and bones, prevents loss of bone mass, and treats bone disorders.
It protects against adult and elderly muscle weakness and immune system issues, and lowers the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis is improved with vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 prevents/treats rickets, post menopausal osteoporosis. The vitamin also treats hypoglycemia, Multiple Sclerosis and the development of Type 1 diabetes.
Benefits of vitamin D3 in the elderly and fractures are still under investigation. An analysis, reported in August 2007 by the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, showed higher doses of vitamin D3 of between 700-800 IU’s per day combined with calcium help prevent hip fractures for institutionalized elderly. The study did not include elderly living independently in the community.
Side Effects of Vitamin D3 Supplements
If considering vitamin D3 supplements, do so only under direction of your doctor. Vitamin D3 overdose is possible and dangerous. Remember that the sun does provide everyone with a certain amount of daily vitamin D3.
Epocrates.com medical information site shares a warning list of vitamin D3 side effects: If any of these occur, stop taking vitamin D3 and call a doctor at once for any of these serious side effects:
- dry mouth or a metallic taste
- pain in your lower back
- urinating more than usual
- fast, slow, or uneven heart rate
- slow growth (in a child taking vitamin D3)
- bone pain, muscle weakness, loss of height
- nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss
- weakness, drowsiness, changes in behavior
- increased thirst
Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat and/or hives (itchy swollen rash anywhere on the body, particularly face, torso, arms)
Other side effects are possible also. Tell a doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. Reports of side effects can also be made to the Food and Drug Administration at 1-800-FDA-1088.
To Avoid – While Taking Vitamin D3 Supplements
While taking vitamin D3, avoid other vitamin or mineral supplements unless your doctor tells you to. It is also important to avoid using antacids without doctor’s advice. If using antacid, only use the specific type your doctor recommends. Antacids different minerals can cause serious side effects if taken together.
Recommended Daily Dose – A Change on the Horizon?
According to the National Institute of Health and the Institute of Medicine, the current recommended daily dose of vitamin D3 is 600 IU’s: for elderly age 71 or older, 400 IU’s: age 51 to 70, and 200 IU’s: age Birth to 50. This daily dose has been the standard for ten years.
However, due to American’s changing habits of everyday life with more and more time indoors and use of sun block protection against skin cancer, this recommendation may increase, according to the Institute of Medicine, which sets the minimum daily requirements.
At this publication date, the new recommended daily dose is yet to be announced. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics is already recommending all kids from infants and children to teens get 400 IU’s daily. That’s double the recommended daily dose from the level set ten years ago.
Annual adult blood tests for diabetes, cholesterol, etc are also now including vitamin D3 screenings by most family physicians. The vitamin D3 blood screening is included in most medical insurance coverages. A local Tucson, Arizona nurse practitioner at Arizona Community Physicians, notes she and her fellow practitioners are not unique in currently recommending 2,000 IU’s daily for most adults, depending on the vitamin D3 blood test results for each patient.
This article is for informational purposes only. It cannot replace doctor’s advice. It is not intended to cover all possible uses, warnings, interactions or allergic reactions. If you have medical questions of any kind – about this topic or any other – check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
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