Copyright (2016) Babi Chana BSc (HONS) BSc Nut.Med BANT. CHNC

24th January 2016

Your Healthy Blog 4 Vitamin D3 – Benefits, why vitamin d3 and not d1? Dr Tom used to recommend 5,000 IU. What are the advantages of this high dosage. This is the product we sell although we may do our own brand soon. Dosages ?

  • Older references can be as little as max of 2000iu per day. (Plaskett)
  • Current best estimates indicate that doses of up to 10,000 IU/day are safe for virtually all adults.

Most adults in North America or Europe need extra vitamin D. A recent, informal survey of the principal clinical scientists working in the vitamin D field revealed that everyone of them, to a person, takes vitamin D supplementation, in doses ranging from 1500 IU/day to over 4000 IU/day.

  • NICE Guidelines The current reference nutrient intakes (μg/day) for vitamin D

 8.5 for infants up to 6 months

 7 for children between 6 months and 3 years

 10 for older adults (65 years and older), and during pregnancy and


Currently there is no reference nutrient intake for people aged between 4 and 65 years. It is assumed that the action of sunlight on skin will provide adequate vitamin D, except for specific at-risk groups, such as women whose clothing conceals them fully or those confined indoors. The reference nutrient intake for at-risk groups is 10 micrograms/day.


“Sunshine Vitamin-D

Reasons to be cheerful …1,2,D3 !

Vitamins are biochemical compoundswhich the body cannot make for itself, but are vital to run the life processes of living cells. We rely on the foods we eat to provide all the vitamins and minerals we need to support optimum health.

Vitamin D- From food?

             Dietary intakes of vitamin-D in the UK are very limited, because oily fish are the only significant source and most of the population do not eat enough fish. The U.K.government guidelines recommend that people should eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily (salmon, herrings, sardines and tuna). Vitamin D is fat soluble, so is generally obtained from the fats in foods of animal origin. Small amounts of vitamin-D are provided by egg-yolk, butter and liver. Some foods are fortified with vitamin-D such as breakfast cereals, but these may contain refined sugar, which may be harmful if consumed in excess. Similarly, some spreads and margarines may also claim vitamin-D, but again may be damaging due to their content of undesirable trans-fats. Mushrooms and yeasts contain D2- a form of vitamin-D which is inactive in the body.

       There are two forms of vitamin D- vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol and vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol, which is rarely found in nature. Humans require vitamin-D3 and make this ‘active form’ under the skin after exposure to sunlight. A biochemical called 7-dehydrocholesterol, naturally present in the skin, is converted by UV-B radiation into vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

Vitamin D- From sunlight?

       The major natural source of vitamin-D3 is from synthesis in the skin after exposure to sunlight. However, from mid-October to April in the U.K, there is little exposure to ultraviolet sunlight and living in northern latitudes where sunlight is so limited, populations tend to have low vitamin-D status. Furthermore, spending time indoors, or going out only in the early morning or late evening, limits production of vitamin D. People with dark skin or using sunscreen block UV radiation often risk vitamin-D deficiency.

       A light-skinned person, can make about 15,000 IU of vitamin D in 15–20 minutes in July at mid-day. Darker skinned individuals can do the same, but it can take much longer.


Why do we need vitamin D?

       Vitamin D is a nutrient required for regulating genetic codes, cell growth, signalling, differentiation, and immunity. Vitamin D is chemically related to cholesterol and to the large family of steroid hormones.

       Due to vitamin-Ds fat soluble nature, it can be stored in the body for a long time and further activated into calcitriol, which has similar actions to our vital steroid hormones. Calcitriol finds its way to the nucleus of cells where it interacts with specific genes and encodes DNA to make proteins that effect many cell processes, including their own ability to proliferate and differentiate, which is why they are so vital to developing infants.

       The body uses also uses calcitriol to signal the lining of the intestine to absorb calcium more efficiently.


What if we don't get enough vitamin-D?

       Vitamin D deficiency causes symptoms associated with bones diseases, because the body cannot absorb enough calcium. Bones become soft and malformed due to low levels of bone mineralisation. Low levels of blood calcium causes urinary loss of phosphorous and since bone mineral consists of calcium phosphate, this double deficiency leads to lose bone density. In childhood this disease is called rickets, and in adults this disease is known as osteomalacia. People are more prone to instability, falls and bone fractures.

       Deficiency may causes many other diseases, including osteoporosis, poor immunity, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and several cancers. There are links to Seasonal Affective Disorder, general mood disorders and  depression.

People at risk of vitamin-D deficiency-

  • General population-

The Department of Health and Food Standards Agency (2012) suggest that almost one fifth of the UK population have a low vitamin-D status. This means that they have less than 25nmol/litre of active form of vitamin-D in their body.

  • Growing children and infants-

Vitamin-D deficiency can occur at any age, but is more likely to occur during periods of rapid growth during childhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

A newborn baby’s vitamin-D status is dependant upon its mother’s levels during pregnancy and mother’s breastmilk does not contain adequate supply.

  • Dark-skinned people-

People with darker skin are less efficient in making vitamin D and need longer exposure to sunlight to make the same amount of vitamin D as people with paler, less pigmented skin. People originating from South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Middle East family, and those who remain covered when outside, are at particular risk.

Almost 75% of Asian adults may have low vitamin D status in the winter.

  • The elderly, frail, housebound-

Older people who spend more time indoors have limited sun exposure are at increased risk, particularly if they are frail.

People who are housebound and others who have limited exposure to the sun all year round (in hospitals or prison) are also at increased risk.

The National Diet and Nutrition survey suggests that between 10 and 20% of older adults have low vitamin D status. This can increase up to 38% among people living in institutions.

  • Northern populations-

People living in Scotland have less hours of daylight and a cloudier climate for extended times in the year.

Vitamin D- From Supplements.

“Many health professionals and the public are unaware that a balanced diet alone will not provide sufficient vitamin D.” (NICE Guidelines)

            The Chief Medical Officers for the United Kingdom issue  recommendations to all the UK health departments for people at-risk on whether they may need to take vitamin D supplements. They raise awareness of the risk of vitamin D deficiency amongst certain groups particularly-

   •     All pregnant and breastfeeding women

   •     Infants and young children under 5 years of age

   •     Older people aged 65 years and over

   •     People who have low or no exposure to the sun

   •     People who have darker skin


Vitamin D3- from supplements is the simplest way to ensure the body can meet with demands and promote optimal wellbeing at every age and stage of life.