Vitamin D is a fat–soluble vitamin which comes in five different forms, the most important of these are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), derived from plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), derived from animals. Together, these two forms are known as calciferol.
Are you getting enough vitamin D?
Vitamin D3 is widely known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as our skins are able to produce a small amount of this vitamin via interaction with the sun – however people tend to not have enough exposure to the sun, particularly in the months during Autumn and Winter, to provide the necessary levels of this most essential vitamin.
This problem is exacerbated if Individuals do not go outdoors often (for example, if in a care home), if sunscreen/sunblock is used, and also if skin is mostly covered up when outdoors. People from ethnic minorities are at risk, as darker skin tones tend not to absorb much sunlight.
Infants can also be found to be lacking. Other factors that prevent optimal Vitamin D levels include being overweight/obese, having a milk allergy or being lactose intolerant or having a liver or digestive overweight.
Can I have too much vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth, a robust immune system, the prevention of various diseases and cardiovascular health. Signs of deficiency include poor bone strength, tooth decay, muscle weakness and muscle spasms. As it is only found in a few foods, such as oily fish, liver, egg yolks, cheese, milk a fortified margarines, it is difficult to consume the required amounts.
Adults and children from the age of one upwards, should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D everyday. Caution should be taken however, as toxic effects can occur if intakes exceed 500 mcg per day, producing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue.
If excess consumption continues over time, it can lead to a condition known as Hypercalcaemia which weakens bones and causes damage to the heart and kidneys. In addition, some individuals may have medical conditions which may be comprised by vitamin D intake, therefore if in any doubt, consult a medical practitioner.
How to supplement vitamin D
In terms of supplementation, a effective and convenient way would be to take vitamin D administered orally in a spray format. Sprayed under the tongue, or onto the inside cheek areas – known as sublingual delivery, the ingredients are transported directly to the bloodstream. The mouth is rich in mucosa, tissue which aids absorption of materials taken into the mouth.
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