Cholecalciferol is just a studious name for vitamin D3. It is the most active form of vitamin D used in human biology. The main function of cholecalciferol is to enable the absorption of other mineral nutrients like calcium and phosphorus. It also contains co-enzymes, a variety of metabolic pathways that regulate hormone release, blood pressure and conduction of nerve impulses. In addition, cholecalciferol is a subcomponent of certain structural proteins and steroids, and it has antioxidant functions against microbial pathogens.
Because of its prevalence of use, your body's demand for cholecalficerol is quite high. Though cholecalciferol can be internally synthesized from a precursor hormone, this process requires sufficient sun exposure and is usually not enough to meet your body’s needs. In general, you need to take an extra 400 I.U. of cholecalciferol daily through diet. People over age 70 should increase their dietary intake to 600 I.U.
Sources of Vitamin D3
Fatty fish, red meat and liver, mushroom and egg yolk are all naturally rich in vitamin D3. Some fortified cereals, milk products and dairy alternatives also contain significant amounts of vitamin D3.
Over the counter vitamin D3 supplements are also widely available. You can either buy isolated cholecalficerol pills, but more often OTC vitamin D3 comes in a complex with calcium supplements, multivitamins or fish oil capsules.
When Is OTC Supplement Necessary?
If you don’t have any special medical condition, having high-vitamin D foods frequently in your diet should be sufficient to support all functional systems of your body. However, because of its catalyst and antioxidant properties, certain high risk groups can benefit from extra supplementation. If you are suffering from or have a predisposition for any of the following conditions, you should take a supplementary dosage of vitamin D3.
- Osteoporosis: vitamin D3 enables your body to absorb and utilize calcium and phosphorous. These minerals are critical to health bone density and to the structural integrity of your skeletal system. Inadequate vitamin D3 intake can lead to brittle bones that are highly susceptible to fractures. Diabetic patients, the elderly and postmenopausal women who are at high risk of losing bone mass should take a daily dose of calcium and vitamin D complex. You should also take extra supplementation if you are undergoing hormone suppression treatment for cancers.
- Cardiovascular disease: studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D3 can lead to higher occurrences of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Vitamin D3 allows for blood vessel dilation, which results in reduced blood pressure. It also acts as a macrophage which picks up and removes low density lipoproteins (LDL) from your blood stream. Taking an extra vitamin D supplement can help prevent the occurrence of blood vessel hemorrhage and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Stress-related disorder: vitamin D3 is involved in the regulation of your anti-stress hormone. Higher levels of vitamin D can help alleviate your stress-induced symptoms, such as depression, agitation and anxiety.
- Infection and cancer: vitamin D circulates in your blood stream as a macrophage, which is a part of your front line of defense against foreign pathogens. High vitamin D intake can help strengthen your immunity against infections and cancers. Taking a vitamin D supplement can significantly reduce your chances of contracting flu. Extra supplementation during cancer treatments can lead to improved efficacy and better results.