Sun + a Vitamin D Supplement = Better Health

Should you take a Vitamin D supplement?

Yes according to the September Harvard Health Publications bulletin:

“It’s not an issue of food quantity, but rather food quality. Even a low-calorie diet can deliver all the vitamins and minerals you need, with one exception – vitamin D. So plan to take a vitamin D supplement.”

Why Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

There are so many reasons to take Vitamin D (see below for some of the articles in this web site), but if any of these apply to you, you should take a Vitamin D supplement.

1. You suspect or better yet, have taken the test and are vitamin D deficient. In such cases you'll probably want to start on a Vitamin D Therapy Program to increase your Vitamin D intake through the use of sun (if available at that time) or supplements up to optimal levels.

2. You live north of the 33rd parallel (i.e., Atlanta / San Diego). From about October to April, taking a vitamin D supplement (or travelling to a sunny destination closer to the equator) makes sense to keep your levels from becoming deficient and exposing you to unnecessary health risks.

3. Your skin color or age makes it difficult for you to get the vitamin D you need from the sun. The darker your skin or older you are (i.e., over 60) the less vitamin D your skin will produce per minute of exposure. So if you don't have the extra time to be in the sun, or want to eat oily fish every night, taking a vitamin D supplement is probably the best way for you to go.

4. Generally you spend most of your time indoors or in your car. Many people just don't have the freedom of time to get out in the sun and soak up the free vitamin D, so your best option is to use supplements.

Which Supplement Should you take: Vitamin D2 or Vitamin D3

There are two major forms of vitamin D that are important to humans: vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol.

Vitamin D2 is made naturally by plants, and vitamin D3 is made naturally by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (in particular, UVB radiation) in sunlight. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can also be commercially manufactured.

The active form of vitamin D in the body is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, or calcitriol, which can be made from either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. To make the active form, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are modified in the liver to produce 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which travels through the blood to the kidneys, where it is modified further to make 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.

So which one is best? I found reference to two independent scientific studies that measured the effectiveness of vitamin D3 vs vitamin D2, and found that Vitamin D3 was more effective.

Trang et al. (1998) found that a daily dose of 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 for two weeks was 1.7 times more effective in raising 25(OH)D levels which increased than 4,000 IU of vitamin D2 which increased levels.

In a 2004 study by Armas et al., subjects were given one dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 was absorbed just as well as vitamin D3. However, after three days, blood levels of 25(OH)D started dropping rapidly in the subjects who were given vitamin D2, whereas those who received vitamin D3 sustained high levels for two weeks before dropping gradually. Their conclusion: Large, single doses of vitamin D2 do not last as long as large doses of D3.

Consequently Vitamin D3 is better for you.


How Much Should I take?

Most of the literature I read suggested adults should consider 5,000 IU a day to maintain their Vitamin D levels. Children should take 1,000 IU a day / 25 lbs (11 KG).

If you are deficient and need to build up your levels, then you might consider increasing your dosage and then getting re-tested.

One thing is clear -- don’t rely on your multivitamin to give you enough Vitamin D. It only has 200 to 400 IU.

Here's What I Recommend

I recommend Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D3 drops from Primal Force.

Does oral D3 differ – qualitatively – from solar D3?

Let’s examine the pathways – let’s see what happens when you produce or swallow vitamin D3. When UV-B reacts with the 7-Dehydrocholesterol in your skin, cholecalciferol (D3) is produced and ends up in your liver, where it’s hydroxilated into calcidiol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D.

When you swallow cholecalciferol (either in food or supplement), it ends up in your liver, where it’s hydroxilated into calcidiol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D.

From that point onward, it’s all the same. It’s all calcidiol, ready for storage in fat tissue or dispersal to the kidneys for conversion into calcitriol, also known as 1,25(OH)D.

Calcitriol is the active hormonal form whose primary role is to regulate blood calcium levels. If there’s enough calcidiol left in the tank after the calcium duties, it gets sent to other tissues in the body to be converted into more calcitriol to fulfill even more roles. That’s where all the immune system/cancer cell/heart health/insulin sensitivity benefits begin to kick in, and it explains why having plenty of vitamin D available – beyond what’s only required to avoid rickets and monitor blood calcium – is so beneficial.

Both oral supplements and sunlight can get you there. Qualitatively, they are identical.

The only difference is in the dosage. With oral D3, dosage can be consciously controlled, but it’s also subject to human error (or foolishness).

You could conceivably keep popping capsule after capsule and end up with toxic blood levels. It’s difficult to do (one official site suggests the level might be in the millions of IUs), but it’s technically possible.

When you sunbathe, on the other hand, you don’t consciously flip a mental switch that shuts down D3 production. Instead, you burn, or you grow uncomfortably hot. You – quite naturally – opt out of sun exposure before it gets too intense. As your skin darkens and you begin to tan, it produces less vitamin D, and you can stay out longer without burning, but it’s generally true that sun exposure up to the brink of turning pink is safe and will net you plenty of D3.

In addition, it’s interesting to note that once you have produced enough vitamin D through sun exposure, those same UVB rays will begin to prevent excess vitamin D production by degrading existing cholecalciferol. Ain’t homeostasis grand?

I recommend You Watch This Video on the Benefits of Vitamin D

For more information about the positive affects of vitamin D and why vitamin D3 is recommended – I suggest you watch the following video, which contains essential information about the benefits of keeping your vitamin D levels at optimum levels:

Any Problems?

While there's no problem when you get your vitamin D from the sun, recent research has shown that in rare cases vitamin D deficiency does not result from insufficient exposure to sunshine but may also be the result of a disease process.

People suffering from a chronic infection, inflammation, liver problems, gallbladder disease, gastrointestinal disorders or an autoimmune disease are especially encouraged to visit their doctor before increasing their vitamin D dosage through supplements.

Also - if you are on a prescription medication it is a good idea to ask your doctor for a Vitamin D test and to learn how Vitamin D might impact on the recovery plan they have designed for you.

Some Medications May Make it More Difficult for Your Body to Absorb Vitamin D

In researching this article I ran across some reports that some medications can interfere with absorption of vitamin D, such as Steroids/corticosteroids, prednisone or any other steroidal prescriptions; care should also be taken if you are taking anti-seizure medications such as phenobarbital or phenytoin (also known as Dilantin)

Also be careful if you are taking diuretic or weight-loss drugs such as orlistat, (also known as Xenical and Alli); Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as cholestyramine (also known as Questran, LoCholest, and Prevalite). They can upset the calcium/vitamin D ratio in your body

Also if you are trying to increase your vitamin D levels avoid taking mineral oil or products containing mineral oil. Mineral oil can interfere with vitamin D absorption. Also avoid overuse of antacids. They will interfere with absorption. If you have perpetual digestive problems, consult with your doctor.

Learn More About The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is important for good health and long-life. Here are some of the articles we've added to our website to give you a full picture of this important subject. Like other parts of this website its full of facts and useful advice.

Vitamin D Deficiency: Causes and Risk Factors

Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms and Risk Factors:

Testing Your Vitamin D Levels: (know what to ask your doctor, or order a home testing kit)

Benefits of Vitamin D

Getting Vitamin D from Sunshine

Vitamin D from Food

Vitamin D Deficiency is linked to 2/3 rds of the medical problems in the US along with poor diet

Vitamin D and Calcium: You Need Them Both

Vitamin D is important for heathy teeth and preventing periodontal disease and weakening of the jawbone

Vitamin D is Important for Good Heart Health

Vitamin D helps prevent 3 out 4 cancers

Vitamin D deficiency can cause mobility problems

Vitamin D and anti-aging

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The information contained in this section of our web site is for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice.

While the publishers of this website believe that people have the right to understand their own bodies and to take care of their bodies as they see fit, we also respect the knowledge and experience of trained nutritionists, scientists, researchers, medical practioners, and others who can help you achieve the optimum health you are entitled to, and suggest you seek out and work with health specialists you can trust.

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