Vitamin D: How to choose the best one in 2021
Today we are going to talk about a vital substance for our health: vitamin D.
Despite being synthesized in the body through exposure to the sun and, to a lesser extent, by eating some foods, vitamin D supplementation is often necessary.
But, in the midst of so many options, we will show you in this article what you should check before buying the ideal vitamin D.
First, the most important
- Essential for the health of bones, the immune system and to prevent or treat various diseases, vitamin D is vital for humans.
- In excess, however, this vitamin can be quite harmful to the body.
- Therefore, we will show you how, when and how much vitamin D you should take and how to choose the best supplement.
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The task of buying vitamin D may seem simple. However, you need to consider many variables before even starting to supplement this substance.
Therefore, we have created this Buying Guide with all the information you will need to make the best decision when purchasing vitamin D.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D was named like this because it was the fourth substance discovered, after vitamins A, B and C. But the fact is that it is not a vitamin. In fact, it is a prohormone.
That is, vitamin D is a precursor to hormones that are synthesized by the body. Still, it was agreed to call it a vitamin.
In general, vitamin D is necessary for the maintenance of bone tissue and the immune system.
But the fact is that this vitamin controls 270 genes, including cells in the cardiovascular system. Vitamin D is even used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Acquired mainly through exposure to sunlight, the fact is that between 60% and 80% of have vitamin D deficiency or deficiency. This is because, over the decades, people’s habits have changed.
Due to the high rates of skin cancer, the population has increased the use of sunscreens, in addition to staying longer indoors.
But, because it is essential for the human body, the absence of vitamin D in the body can generate a series of complications and diseases. Therefore, in many cases, supplementation produced in the laboratory is necessary for the prevention and treatment of a series of diseases.
How to get vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be absorbed by the body with exposure to the sun, food intake or supplementation. The sun is responsible for 80% to 90% of the vitamin D that the body receives. Animal foods also have the vitamin, but in an amount that is not enough to benefit the body.
Therefore, to avoid the lack of the substance, experts recommend that you expose yourself to the sun for a period of 15 to 20 minutes every day. If you have dark or black skin, the time of exposure to the sun should be 45 minutes to 1 hour a day.
In addition, foods rich in vitamin D are also very high in saturated fat. That is, when ingested in large quantities it can lead to vascular disease.
Still, depending on your nutritional needs, your doctor may recommend that you supplement sun exposure and supplementation with foods rich in this vitamin.
Therefore, it is important that you know the foods that contain the most vitamin D. Check below the table with the main ones:
What can Vitamin D deficiency cause?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of health problems, including 17 types of cancer. The lack of it increases the risk of heart problems, osteoporosis, flu and cold, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.
In pregnant women, vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of miscarriage, favors pre-eclampsia and increases the chances of the child being autistic. In addition, a lack of vitamin D can cause gestational diabetes, premature birth and infections.
The main factor that causes disability is the lack of sunshine, as people spend long periods of time indoors.
For you to better understand what the lack of this substance generates in our body, check below the main consequences of vitamin D deficiency:
- Depression : Low levels of vitamin D can be associated with cardiovascular and neurological diseases, including depression.
- Bone problems : Deficiency of this nutrient can cause rickets in childhood and osteoporosis in adulthood.
- Heart disease : Those who have a disability are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack.
- Diabetes : The lack of this substance favors the disease.
- Loss of muscle strength : The absence of the vitamin leads to loss of strength and increases the risk of falls and fractures.
- Autoimmune diseases : Vitamin D can contribute to the appearance of some diseases and is already being used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
- Cancer : The lack of vitamin D favors several types of cancer, such as breast, prostate and melanoma.
- Autism : Because vitamin D is important for brain development, it helps prevent autism during pregnancy.
- Breathing problems and flu : Children with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop respiratory infections. Adults get more colds.
It is important to note that any type of treatment with vitamin D supplements should be performed only by doctors. This is because, as we will see below, excessive consumption can cause health problems.
Ian ReidProfessor of Medicine at the University of Auckland
“When looking at any group of sick patients, vitamin D levels will be lower than the levels of healthy individuals. This raises the hypothesis that low vitamin D causes disease, but there is no clear evidence of that.”
Who should use the Vitamin D supplement?
In addition to natural sources, vitamin D can also be found in the form of supplements. And in general, people who have vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are advised by doctors to make use of supplementation.
In addition, the supplement can also be used to treat some diseases. To find out if you should supplement, you need a blood test.
Recently, the Society of Clinical Pathology / Laboratory Medicine (SBPC / ML) announced the change of the reference value for Vitamin D. Until then, the value considered normal for the amount of vitamin D detected by the exam was above 30 ng / mL.
However, currently, values from 20 ng / mL are being accepted as normal. Therefore, according to the SBPC, patients whose results are between 20 to 30 ng / mL dosages do not require vitamin D replacement.
Check below the vitamin D reference values that can be detected in the blood test:
How important is Vitamin D in old age?
Older people produce less vitamin D in response to sun exposure for age-related metabolic issues. The amount of the substance produced in a 70-year-old person, for example, is, on average, a quarter of that synthesized by a 20-year-old.
Therefore, it is important that the elderly talk to their doctors about the possibility of consuming vitamin D supplements.
In addition, it is recommended that, when taking the supplements, the person is hydrated and maintains a balanced diet. This will help prevent health problems, especially in the kidneys.
What are the side effects of Vitamin D?
When consumed within the recommended amounts, vitamin D has no side effects. However, when ingested in excess it can harm the kidneys by causing increased absorption of calcium.
Therefore, it is important that consumption beyond the recommended amount of this vitamin is done only with medical supervision. It is important to note that the excess of vitamin D only occurs through supplementation.
Excess vitamin D can cause serious damage to health, especially the kidneys. Excess occurs only with the inappropriate use of supplementation.
The sun and food do not cause excess vitamin in the body. This is because, as we have seen, food does not have large quantities of the substance, and the obtaining of it through the sun’s rays is regulated by the skin.
That is, our skin stops the production of vitamin D when it reaches the necessary values. However, excess over supplements without medical advice can be very dangerous.
There is a risk of an increase in the concentration of calcium in the blood and this can affect the kidneys, which may lose their function.
What is the recommended dosage of vitamin D supplementation?
The amount of supplement to be taken varies according to the age, the dose of the medication and the degree of vitamin deficiency in the person. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate and monitor the doctor.
Still, according to several studies carried out recently, the guidance for people over 50 kg is to consume between 1,000 and 4,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day.
The same goes for pregnant and lactating women. In the case of children, the advice is to ingest up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D for every 5 kg of weight. In other words, if a child weighs 30 kg, for example, he can ingest up to 6,000 units of vitamin D per day.
However, as these values vary according to the person’s profile and the context of their health condition, overweight people, for example, can take up to 3,000 IU daily.
On the other hand, people over 70 years old can receive the recommendation to take supplements of up to 3,500 IU per day.
What is the best time to consume the vitamin D supplement?
It is worth remembering that, as it is fat-soluble, vitamin D is better absorbed in the presence of a fat source. A study by the Cleveland Clinic in the United States showed that taking vitamin D with the main meal of the day can increase the concentration of the vitamin in the blood by up to 50%.
Experts recommend that the best time to take the vitamin D supplement is during lunch. In addition, the meal must contain some type of fat, whether of vegetable or animal origin.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Vitamin D?
As we have seen, the presence of the correct amount of vitamin D in our body is essential for our health.
Thus, the great advantage of vitamin D is that it facilitates the absorption of calcium by the body. And calcium is essential for the healthy development of bones and teeth. Thus, the vitamin is able to reduce the risk of fracture and osteoporosis.
But in addition to improving bone health, vitamin D has the advantage of preventing diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Another advantage of this vitamin is that it helps to tone muscles, promote greater gains in strength and muscle mass and prevent falls.
In addition, vitamin D prevents high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin D is also a potent inhibitor of the growth of cancer cells, being able to even reduce metastases.
The only disadvantage of vitamin D is that, if consumed in excess (which can only occur through supplementation), it can cause serious damage to health, especially to the kidneys.
The following are the main advantages and disadvantages of vitamin D:
- Increases calcium and phosphorus absorption
- Strengthens bones and teeth, tones muscles and increases muscle mass
- Improves balance and strengthens the immune system
- Prevents premature aging and improves cardiovascular health
- Prevents some types of cancer, such as colon, rectum and breast cancer
- Prevents diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and multiple sclerosis
- In excess, through supplementation, is harmful to health
The price of Vitamin D varies a lot depending on the manufacturer brand, dosage, quantity and components of the formula. But in general, you will find Vitamin D costing between R $ 15 and R $ 350.
Of course, you don’t have to buy the most expensive one. In general, it is possible to purchase a quality vitamin at an affordable price, depending on your need for use.
Where to buy?
You will find Vitamin D for sale in pharmacies, supplement stores, department stores and hypermarkets.
Still, we suggest that you make your purchase at online stores like Amazon. By doing this, you not only guarantee more brand and price options, you also get Vitamin D from the comfort of your home.
Purchase criteria: Factors to consider before purchasing Vitamin D
As we have seen, the first step you should take before including vitamin D supplementation in your routine is to have a blood test and follow up with your doctor.
That done, you then need to understand what differentiates one product from another, amid so many vitamin D options available on the market today. Therefore, we have selected for you the main factors that must be taken into account before purchasing vitamin D:
In the following, we will explain each of these factors in detail so that you make the best decision and invest in vitamin D that will actually meet your needs.
The first factor that you must take into account before purchasing Vitamin D is the type of substance used as an active ingredient. There are several types of vitamin D, but the two most important forms are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D3 is of animal origin. It is synthesized in the skin from cholesterol, after exposure to a reasonable amount of sunlight. Vitamin D2 is of vegetable origin and is only available in food.
The fact is that vitamin D3 is much more effective than vitamin D2 when it comes to increasing blood levels of this vitamin in the body. In addition, vitamin D3 is stored in adipose tissue much more effectively than vitamin D2.
You can find vitamin D supplements made with both the active ingredient of D3 and D2. The latter is, in general, more relevant for those with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians and vegans.
Still, the most common is that you find D3, as this type is considered more complete and effective. The following are the main differences between vitamin D3 and vitamin D2:
There are supplements in liquid form or in capsules.
Another factor that is important for you to check is the way vitamin D is presented. Vitamin D supplements are generally available in liquid or capsule form.
The fact is that the right choice of this factor may or may not facilitate the intake and absorption of the vitamin. In general, children and the elderly benefit much more from the drop version, due to its easy digestion.
But it will also be possible to find injections of vitamin D, albeit more rarely. This form is used in cases where the person needs to replace the disability quickly.
Next, we recommend that you take into account the vitamin D concentration in each dose of the supplement. This value (measured in UI, international unit) varies immensely, depending on the manufacturer brand.
The ideal here is that, together with your doctor, the need for the recommended daily dose for you to consume is defined. On the market, you can choose products that contain between 200 IU to 500 IU of vitamin D in each capsule.
But, if you choose the supplement version in liquid form, this concentration is usually 200 IU of vitamin D in each drop.
It is also essential that you take into account the quantity of capsules or the total in milliliters of Vitamin D in each bottle. This choice will mainly reflect the practicality of use and the final price of the product.
But this will also depend on your doctor’s prescription. To give you an idea, you can choose Vitamin D packs containing between 30 and 300 tablets.
In the case of Vitamin D in liquid form, you can choose between bottles that have between 20 ml to 150 ml.
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