Your Health Guide: How to Choose the Best Vitamin D Supplement
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on December 6, 2021
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
Did you know that almost one billion people in the world have a deficiency in vitamin D? This vitamin plays a crucial role in your bone and immune health.
Often dubbed the "sunshine vitamin", people can get vitamin D through foods, sunlight, or supplements. However, finding the best vitamin D supplement for you can be tricky - you want something that is safe, healthy, and beneficial to your health.
Supplements are often marred by unhealthy ingredients, low vitamin levels, and improper regulation.
If you have an interest in learning about the best vitamin D supplement, then keep reading on for more information.
Vitamin D 101
Vitamin D falls under the classification of a fat-soluble vitamin. You have likely heard the terms fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
These are the two main categories of vitamins and all different types of vitamins will fall under them.
Water-soluble vitamins will not stay in your system for very long - they have a difficult time being stored in your cells and organs. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins are stored for periods of time in your liver and fat cells.
You can find vitamin D in certain foods and through direct exposure to the sun. Supplements are also a popular option among many people who need more vitamin D.
Essentially, this vitamin works in the body by undergoing two different transformations. The first happens in your liver and the second transformation occurs in your kidneys.
Afterward, vitamin D is ready for use.
So - what exactly does vitamin D do once it becomes broken down? This critical vitamin has many roles and functions in the body, including:
- Calcium absorption
- Bone growth or remodeling
- Decreases inflammation
- Boosts immune system
It plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your bones as children and adults and assists calcium in preventing osteoporosis.
Sources of Vitamin D
The two main sources of vitamin D are sunlight and food. Supplements are helpful for those who have a deficiency or do not absorb enough vitamin D in their diet.
If you live in a region where you don't get out into the sun very often - you also run the risk of not getting enough vitamin D.
The main sources of vitamin D in foods are:
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolks
- Orange juice
Keep in mind - some of these foods do not initially have high levels of vitamin D and are instead fortified (vitamins are added in) to boost their levels. Additionally, each type of food tends to have different parts of vitamin D.
Some foods, like mushrooms and animal products, only have vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. These are the two main components of vitamin D and both can increase this vitamin's levels in your body. Some studies show bias towards D3, stating that it does a better job at increasing overall levels, but these studies are still debated.
One of the best ways of ensuring you are getting enough vitamin D is through sunlight. However, many people have a challenging time getting enough sunlight for adequate vitamin D levels.
One study in Canada looked at ultraviolet radiation (UV), skin color, and time spent in the sun. They found it was extremely challenging for people to get enough UV radiation throughout the year for maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D.
They also suggested that people with darker skin color may have a harder time. This study points out similar problems in the United States with people who live in northern regions where winter months are longer or those who do not have consistent opportunities due to work.
Signs of Vitamin Deficiency
If you fall under the category of lack of exposure to sunlight, then you are at a higher risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Who else is at risk?
- Dark-skinned individuals
- Obese individuals
- Inflammatory conditions
Some of the higher-risk individuals are the elderly. This happens for two reasons. First - they are less likely to go out into the sun as often. Second - their body does not synthesize vitamin D as efficiently.
Women who are post-menopausal are also at risk of vitamin D and calcium deficiencies. Ultimately, there are a few health risks associated with low levels of this vitamin including:
- Rickets (in children)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment
Your kidneys and intestines play a critical role in the absorption of vitamin D. People with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's or celiac disease might need supplements.
Vitamin D Supplements
How can you determine if you need a vitamin D supplement? The best way for getting accurate results is by having your blood drawn. This can show you where your levels are exactly at and how much vitamin D you need.
There are basic guidelines for how much vitamin you need per age group. These terms are given in international units (IU) or micrograms (mcg).
- Infants: 400 IU or 10 mcg
- Ages 1-70: 600 IU or 15 mcg
- >70: 800 IU or 20 mcg
If you have a pre-existing condition of osteoporosis, you should aim for 400 to 1,000 IU daily. Older adults and high-risk individuals should consume between 800 to 2,000 IU daily.
Can you consume too much? Yes - there are upper limits in place for vitamin levels. Health experts advise a maximum of 4,000 IU or 100 mcg of vitamin D per day.
If you practice a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will likely need more vitamin D. You should look for supplements that include up to 1,000 IU. However, if you consume animal products, then you might get away with a 400 IU supplement.
In general, most supplements will range between 400 IU and 1000 IU (10 to 25 mcg). Additionally, some supplements may break down their vitamin D levels into D2 or D3. Try looking for supplements that include D3 rather than D2 for better absorption.
Best Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D3 supplements come from three main forms - algae oil, fish oil, and lanolin. Along with these different forms, you also have the option of choosing how you take your supplement.
They can come in pills, oils, and sprays. There are a few things you should keep your eye out for when you search for the best vitamin D supplements.
First - make sure you are buying a supplement that comes from a reputable company or manufacturer. Sometimes, going through small markets and side stores can give you non-disclosed and added ingredients that are detrimental to your health.
Along those lines, be sure and pick something that doesn't have a lot of additives. You don't need a bunch of sweeteners or coloring mixed into your supplements. For fat-soluble vitamins, it is extremely important that you purchase something within the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
As mentioned earlier, this may change based on your age, risk, and comorbidities. These vitamins can build up in your system and put you at risk of toxicity if you consume too much.
When you are buying a supplement through Canada, there are two things you should look at for credibility. The Natural Product Number (NPN) or the Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM).
This ensures that the product you have purchased meets Canadian health guidelines. Lastly, double-check the expiration and any ingredients that you may have an allergic reaction to.
What Form of Vitamin D Is Best?
With so many different forms of vitamin D out there, it is sometimes challenging in knowing if you are getting the same benefit from oils or sprays compared to tablets.
One study examined the effectiveness of oils and tablets over the course of a year. One group of participants took 1600 IU per day of vitamin D3. The other group used 1500 IU per day in the form of drops.
They found that both groups responded favorably to the vitamin D supplements and they showed relatively equal results.
Are 10,000 IU Supplements Safe?
Some of the best - and most recommended - vitamin D supplements are 10,000 IUs. Is this safe? The recommended daily intake in Canada and in the United States is 4,000 IU.
However, experts suggest that although 4,000 IU is a safe number for the average citizen to follow, many people who are already at a deficiency could benefit from the increased dosage.
Most people have been ignoring the 4,000 IU limit for years. Approximately 3% of people who take daily vitamin D supplements are ingesting more than 4,000 IUs.
A study in Canada looked at the safety and health risks of taking this high dosage. One group was assigned 400 IU/day, the other 4,000 IU/day, and the last group 10,000 IU/day.
Then, the researchers analyzed the patient's calcium, creatine, and calcium excretion. They also assessed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is the main form of vitamin D found in your bloodstream.
It is the go-to marker that physicians and researchers look at when determining vitamin D levels.
Overall, they found that all three levels were safe for use. Only a small percentage (less than 5%) had hypercalcemia. This was a greater risk in the groups taking higher levels of vitamin D supplements, but it was not significant.
This study helped show that 10,000 IU vitamin D supplements are safe for use.
High-Dosage Vitamin D Studies
You already know that the best vitamin D supplements include the D3 component and can come in pill, oil, or spray form. The best supplements also provide you with the most bang for your buck - this means that they will offer higher levels of vitamin D that your body can absorb.
While you do need to watch out for toxicity signs and symptoms, these are rare and most people can safely take up to 10,000 IU per day.
Another study examined high-dosage vitamin D supplements and their role in inflammation with COVID-19 patients. People with COVID-19 and had deficiencies in vitamin D were divided up into groups.
One group received what is called "Pulse D therapy." This form of therapy gives patients extremely high dosages of vitamin D under a controlled setting. The researchers in this study administered 60,000 IUs daily for up to 10 days.
The control group did not receive any added vitamin D supplementation and continued with treatments. After the course of treatment, inflammatory markers were significantly reduced in those who took high amounts of vitamin D.
In the control group, the inflammatory markers did not show any significant changes. Additionally, there were no adverse side effects in the group who had received the vitamin supplement course of treatment.
Buying Vitamin D Supplements
Where can you purchase affordable and quality vitamin D supplements? Canadian pharmacies are a great choice for finding affordable prescription and over-the-counter medication.
Additionally, by choosing a qualified online pharmacy, you can rest easy knowing that you are getting quality medications at a fair price. Supplements do not require a prescription and you can simply purchase them.
However, you can also save money on your prescription medications. Americans pay almost 3.5 times more on brand-name prescriptions than the rest of the world.
Canadian pharmacies can help save you hundreds of dollars on costly prescription medication and supplements.
Find Your Online Pharmacy
Have you been searching for the best vitamin D supplement? You want something without added ingredients that provide you with high-quality vitamin D3 compounds.
Additionally, high amounts of vitamin D have shown effectiveness in boosting vitamin D levels in the bloodstream and reducing inflammatory markers. In return, you can live a healthier, fuller life without the risk of bone density losses.
If you have questions on finding the right medications or supplements for you, visit our website or contact us today. One of our representatives will be happy to direct you to the right medication for your health needs.