How to Take Vitamin D Drops and/or Pills
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is found naturally in only a few foods. Though Vitamin D can be difficult to find in nature, it is often added to food products to increase their nutrition value. Vitamin D is also available as a dietary supplement or pill. This post looks at how to take Vitamin D drops and how to take Vitamin D pills. It also includes other ways to supplement your Vitamin D intake, and some information about vitamin D deficiency.
The most interesting feature of Vitamin D is that it is also produced naturally by your body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays come in contact with your skin and start a process known as “vitamin D synthesis”. Vitamin D in this form is the most common version for people who spend any amount of time in the sun. So sun exposure is important for people who have a hard time getting vitamin D from food, like people living in areas with little available vitamin D nutrition.
Vitamin D in the form of food or supplements is naturally unavailable in terms of nutrition, meaning your body must process it before it can do you any good. Your liver and kidneys play a big role in converting otherwise inert vitamin D into something your body can use for health needs.
Why Take Vitamin D? What Does Vitamin D Do For Me?
Vitamin D is an essential element in your diet — it promotes healthy bone growth by increasing the amount of calcium absorbed by your stomach and intestines. It keeps your body’s levels of calcium and other phosphates high, and can help turn calcium into mineral form, which is good for your bones. It is also essential for something called “bone remodeling” which is your body’s way of fighting off osteoperosis and other bone disorders. Without the right amount of vitamin D, your bones could become brittle, thin, or misshapen. Vitamin D is the only tool your body needs to fight off a painful condition known as rickets. When taken with calcium from food or dietary supplements, vitamin D is the best way your body has of warding off bone ailments.
Vitamin D is reported to play a few other starring roles in the health of your body, such as contributing to neuromuscular growth and your body’s immune function. Vitamin D is also known as a natural anti-inflammatory and can help muscle pain and weakness.
Even if you spend plenty of time in the sun, you may be harming yourself unintentionally by using sun screen to prevent burns. Sun screen is a healthy way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but doctors report that people who use a lot of sun screen lotion may be preventing their skin from absorbing vitamin D from the sun. That’s why vitamin D is an important part of any health or vitamin routine, even for people who spend lots of time worshiping the sun.
How to Take Vitamin D – Sources of Vitamin D
Children under the age of 13 don’t need much vitamin D — only about five micrograms (200 International Units or IU) a day. Over the age of 13, vitamin D needs increase rapidly. Men and women both need about double their childhood amount of vitamin D to maintain health, 10 micrograms (400 IU) every day.
The amount of sunlight exposure that leads to proper vitamin D intake is not really understood. Different scientists suggest different amounts of sunlight may provide appropriate levels of vitamin D nutrition. Generally, getting between 5 and 30 minutes of direct sunlight exposure (some doctors say that the sunlight must hit your face) every day can lead to an appropriate amount of vitamin D in the body, though the use of sun blocking lotions may require a longer exposure. Commercial tanning beds even provide a little bit of vitamin D, making that one of the only obviously “healthy” aspects of sunless tanning.
Outside of sunlight, vitamin D is present in only a few select foods. Here is a complete list of known vitamin D sources.
- Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces (794 IU)
- Mackerel, cooked, 3 ounces (388 IU)
- Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces (154 IU)
- Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup (115 IU)
- Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (100 IU)
- Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (80 IU)
- Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon (60 IU)
- 2 Sardines, canned in oil and drained (46 IU)
- Beef liver, cooked, 3.5 ounces (46 IU)
- Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 1 cup (40 IU)
- Egg, 1 whole (25 IU)
- Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce (6 IU)
How to Take Vitamin D as a Supplement
In dietary supplements, vitamin D is available in two basic forms. Chemicals known as D2 and D3 are the chemical sources of vitamin D, and you may see them listed in supplements as vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Either source is appropriate for vitamin D sufficiency, and they are both created by irradiating yeast or a fat known as lanolin. New research suggests that vitamin D3 is far more effective than D2 in combating sickness related to vitamin insufficiency, some say as much as three times as effective.
Vitamin D supplements should be taken every day with an entire glass of water to maximize absorbtion. If you really want to amp up your intake of vitamin D (and help your body create healthy amounts of bone disease-fighting metabolites) you should take vitamin D with a calcium supplement, ideally 1200 – 1500 milligrams of calcium. Since calcium supplements are large and you already need plenty of water to absorb vitamin D, consider drinking an even larger amount of water if you’re supplementing with both nutrients.
We know that vitamin D is an important nutrient. We also know that it can be hard to get from food, especially for people with lactose allergies or aversions to seafood or fish products. Sunlight absorbtion may be enough for your body’s natural vitamin D level, but you have to absorb the sunlight properly — direct exposure to the sun for as much as half an hour a day without the addition of sun block. Taking vitamins as dietary supplements is always an option, but the verdict is still out on exactly how much vitamin D is absorbed through your gastro-intestinal system when taking vitamins alone. In the end, a healthy acquisition of vitamin D requires proper sunlight, proper nutrition, and proper intake of nutrients like vitamin D3 and calcium.
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