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Vitamin D Supplements: How Safe Are They?


Vitamin D supplements may be unnecessary as part of your daily supplements if you take into consideration the fact that most of the Vitamin D you need comes from the sun and your body's own production methods. The human body can make at least 10,000 units of vitamin D in 30 minutes, if the full body is exposed to the sun. This is called a minimal erythemal dose. The production of vitamin D occurs in the skin within minutes and is fully maximized before your skin turns pink.

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. While, milk is most often fortified with 125 IU of vitamin D per 4 oz. serving, vitamin D is also found in small amounts in eggs, livers, and fish such as salmon, sardines and herrings. Vitamin D is best manufactured in the skin when it's directly exposed to sunlight. Just fifteen minutes of sun exposure is enough to produce your daily need for vitamin D. Keep in mind the climate where you live as this can affect the level of Vitamin D you're getting.

How Safe Is Vitamin D Supplements?

Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and is therefore helpful in preventing osteoporosis. A recent study has shown that a large number of elderly people are deficient in vitamin D. In such cases, a single high dose of vitamin D is given every four weeks (or smaller weekly or daily doses). Both methods are safe and equally effective in achieving the required results.

Though monthly dosing of vitamin D supplements would be easier for you to adhere to, researchers have shown growing concern that a large dose might lead to a sudden increase in calcium levels in the blood, which could lead to other medical problems.

Is a Vitamin D Supplement Effective?

Researchers carried out a random sample check on a group of volunteers who were suffering from TB, who were each given either 2.5mg vitamin D supplement or a placebo. When the samples of the volunteers' blood were tested to see how the supplement helped the immune system's ability to withstand infection by mycobacteria, the results were amazing. It was found that a single large dose of vitamin D was enough to strengthen the person's immunity to fight the bacteria for up to 6 weeks. This trial exhibited how a simple, inexpensive supplement can make a significant impact on the health of the people most at risk from the disease.

Are Vitamin D Supplements Needed?

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and are absorbed into your body fairly quickly and easily. The side effects of excessive Vitamin D can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Calcium and phosphate deposits in soft tissues

Nutritional supplements are just that, an addition to your diet, not a replacement for a good diet. They are intended to supplement or support your body in case of deficiency of one or more nutrients from your diet or because of a health condition, like pregnancy. To optimize the benefits of Vitamin D, follow a healthy diet in nutrient-rich food.

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