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What You Need to Know About Vitamin D3 Supplements

If you keep up with the news of natural health, it's almost impossible not to have heard about vitamin D3. What is vitamin D3 good for?

Vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 supplements are widely publicized for their potential to prevent or even cure colds, cancer, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and many more conditions. The "sunshine vitamin" is the most frequently discussed nutrient in the world today.

Vitamin D3 versus Vitamin D2

The term "vitamin D" can refer to a substance known as vitamin D2, the substance known as vitamin D3, or both. The vitamin your skin makes with the help of the sun is vitamin D3. This is the storage form of vitamin D. About 0.1% of all the vitamin D3 in your body is converted into vitamin D2. This is the active form of vitamin D. You can't take vitamin D2, but you can build up your store of vitamin D3.

Should You Take Vitamin D3 Drops, Vitamin D3 Tablets, or Foods that Are Rich in Vitamin D3?

Vitamin Supplements for Health

There is a very good reason for taking vitamin D3 drops or vitamin D3 tablets rather than trying to get the vitamin D3 you need from food. Except for cod liver oil, there just aren't that many foods that deliver enough vitamin D to make up a vitamin D3 deficiency. Even if you ate 2 kilos (4.4 pounds) of salmon, or 80 eggs, or 350 kilos (770 pounds) of mushrooms each and every day, you couldn't use food to make up vitamin D deficiency. (You could, however, just take a tablespoon, 15 ml, of cod liver oil three times a day). It's simply easier to take supplements, and a lot easier on your digestive tract!

Which Vitamin D3 Supplements Are Best?

Whether you take vitamin D3 tablets or vitamin D3 drops or you use a vitamin D3 spray, your body will benefit. But if you are overweight, you should consider the highest practical dose, up to 5,000 IU a day.

That's because fat cells tend to store vitamin D3. If you have packed belly fat, it is hard for these cells to release their store of vitamin D3 to the bloodstream to be activated by the liver. People with weight issues need extra vitamin D3.

Who else needs supplemental D3?

  • People who have HIV need additional D3, especially if they have African, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern ancestry, or they have diabetes in addition to HIV.
  • People who have hepatitis C need additional D3, especially if they are receiving therapy with interferon.
  • People who have type 2 diabetes need supplemental D3, especially if they are overweight.
  • People who have had thyroid surgery must get supplemental vitamin D.
  • People who have prostate or lung cancer are especially responsive to supplemental vitamin D, although they may need a dosage greater than 5,000 IU a day, chosen in consultation with their physicians.

And anyone who lives north of 35 degrees of latitude in the Northern Hemisphere needs vitamin D supplementation in the winter. This means if you live north of Charlotte, North Carolina, Little Rock Arkansas, or San Diego, California in the USA, or north of Gibraltar, Sicily, Syria, New Delhi, Shanghai or Tokyo.

If you live south of 35 degrees of latitude in the Southern Hemisphere, you also need supplemental vitamin D in the winter. If you live south of Sydney, Auckland, or Buenos Aires, you need to take D3. Anyone who works at night or who retreats into air conditioned quarters during the summer is also likely to benefit from a supplement. Start taking vitamin D several weeks before the beginning of winter.

Selected Reference:

Blum M, Dallal GE, Dawson-Hughes B. Body size and serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D response to oral supplements in healthy older adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Apr;27(2):274-9.

Written By Robert S. Rister
Robert Rister is the author of Healing without Medication and many other books that have been translated into eight languages. He is a chemist, a formulator of natural products, and a writer of consumer guides to getting the greatest value from natural health care.

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