Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a fat-soluble steroid hormone, mainly produced from cholesterol through the skin under the influence of sunlight. Sources of vitamin D are greasy fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, fish liver oil and eggs. However, vitamin D is found in a small amount of foods. It is only when the skin is exposed to sunlight that the synthesis of this vitamin is higher. That is why adequate vitamin D supplementation is important for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D occurs in two forms: Vitamin D3 – also called as cholecalciferol and Vitamin D2 – called ergocalciferol. Vitamin D3 is a natural form and D2 is made synthetically. Many supplements are in the form of vitamin D2, but it is vitamin D3 that is necessary and converts into the active form in the body – 25- dihydroxyvitamin D.Vitamin D3 helps regulate the immune system and prevents autoimmune diseases by playing a role in the development and differentiation of T cells. It inhibits the proliferation of T1 helper cells that show increased activity in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. When the level of vitamin D is high, the cells called T2 help maintain balance between T1 cells, which reduces autoimmune activity. Vitamin D is also a very powerful antioxidant by combating free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the nervous system. It plays an important role in reducing mercury toxicity by dramatically increasing the amount of intracellular glutathione. Vitamin D also helps in the adsorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc and other minerals from the intestine.Vitamin D3 is known for its use in autoimmune diseases, especially in multiple sclerosis. It has long been known that vitamin D can inhibit autoimmune reactions, slows progression and the number of relapses in multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D should also be used in preventive healthcare as it prevents multiple sclerosis, helps control genes involved in the process of multiple sclerosis, reduces symptoms, relapses and their activity, and reduces progression of the disease. More about the function of vitamin D3 in the course of multiple sclerosis can be found here.
Symptoms of Vitamin D3 deficiencies:
Although many vitamin D deficiencies are not evident in their early stages, some are more prominent and suggest that we should study this level as soon as possible. They may include:
- muscle weakness
- lower immunity.
Symptoms of excess amount of Vitamin D3
A study that took place in Toronto to check the toxicity of high doses of vitamin D found that only a dose of 40 000 IU per day could cause side effects.
Vitamin D regulates the level of calcium in the blood. If there is not enough calcium in the diet, it will be washed out of the bones increasing the risk of osteoporosis. High levels of vitamin D do in fact cause bone demineralization if there is not enough calcium. Vitamin D supplementation should not be taken without calcium and magnesium intake. Calcium intake should be in the range of 600-900 mg per day, just like magnesium intake.
Sources of Vitamin D3 in food:
Sources of vitamin D are greasy fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, fish liver oil and eggs. However, vitamin D is found in a small amount of foods.
You should take supplements with vitamin D3 because only this vitamin has the ability to convert into an active form. Avoid a mixture of vitamins D2 and D3 or only with vitamin D2. The units of measure are usually IU. For supplementation with cod liver oil, which contains vitamin A, you should take no more than 1500 IU and the rest should be provided in a supplement without vitamin A.
Supplementation with Vitamin D3:
Supplements which contain Vitamin D3:
Vitamin D3 liposomal 3000 IU 100 ml (CureSupport) – product available here
Vitamin D3 1000 IU, 100 capsules (Puritan’s Pride) – product available here
Vitamin D3 2000 IU, 100 capsules (Puritan’s Pride) – product available here
Vitamin D3 2000 IU, 200 capsules (Puritan’s Pride) – product available here
Vitamin D3 2000 60 servings (Formeds) – product available here
Vitamin D3 4000 60 servings (Formeds) – product available here
Vitamin D3 3000 IU, 120 capsules (Life Extension) – product available here
Liver disease, renal failure, hypervitaminosis D, hypercalcemia, calcium stones are all contraindications for taking vitamin D.