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vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments have not rou­tinely tested par­tic­i­pants’ blood lev­els be­fore start­ing sup­ple­men­ta­tion. Yet, peo­ple whose vi­ta­min D lev­els were high be­fore tak­ing sup­ple­ments would not be ex­pected to benefi t in the same way as those who were defi cient at the start. Diff er­ent forms of vi­ta­min D found in over- the- counter sup­ple­ments and pre­scrip­tions from doc­tors don’t all have the same eff ect, but stud­ies don’t al­ways iden­tify which form of vi­ta­min D is be­ing tested.

One re­search re­view ex­am­ined how var­i­ous vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments aff ected mor­tal­ity. It in­cluded 56 tri­als, with more than 95,000 peo­ple be­tween the ages of 18 and 107. El­derly peo­ple who took vi­ta­min D ( but not those who took vi­ta­min D ) lived longer. Peo­ple who took pre­scrip­tion forms of the vi­ta­min ( al­fa­cal­ci­dol or cal­citriol) did not live longer and ran the risk of hy­per­cal­cemia, blood lev­els of cal­cium so high that they can be life- threat­en­ing.

Some ex­perts the­o­rize that vi­ta­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion might in­crease harm­ful cal­cium de­posits in ar­ter­ies, be­cause this eff ect has been seen in an­i­mal stud­ies. How­ever, hu­man stud­ies have found the op­po­site: vi­ta­min D re­duces cal­cifi cation of ar­ter­ies.

Form & Func­tion

There are two forms of vi­ta­min D in sup­ple­ments: D ( chole­cal­cif­erol) and D ( er­go­cal­cif­erol). Most sup­ple­ments in health food stores con­tain D . This is the form made by the hu­man body af­ter sun ex­po­sure, and it is ab­sorbed and used more eff ec­tively than D . How­ever, sup­ple­ments pre­scribed by doc­tors of­ten con­tain vi­ta­min D — made with a process that has been patented by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies.

Vi­ta­min D doesn’t work in iso­la­tion in the hu­man body and is most eff ec­tive with some syn­er­gis­tic nu­tri­ents:

Vi­ta­min K : It in­hibits cal­cifi cation of ar­ter­ies. Vi­ta­min D is of­ten taken with It’s best to get a vi­ta­min D test and take sup­ple­ments based on re­sults. The En­docrine So­ci­ety es­ti­mates that adults need 1,500– 2,000 IU of vi­ta­min D daily, in sup­ple­ments, to achieve and main­tain de­sir­able blood lev­els above 30 ng/ ml. Doses rec­om­mended by the fed­eral govern­ment are lower:

Ages 0– 12 months: 400 IU daily Ages 1– 70: 600 IU daily Af­ter age 70: 800 IU daily

To ben­e­fit fully from vi­ta­min D, take a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment that also con­tains vi­ta­min K . In ad­di­tion, take at least 200 mg of mag­ne­sium daily. Vi­ta­min D has tra­di­tion­ally been de­rived from an­i­mal sources, but there are ve­gan forms made from lichen. Be­cause it is fat- sol­u­ble, vi­ta­min D is best taken with fatty food.

BODY FAT AND VI­TA­MIN D: Men and women with belly fat, and women with over­all ex­cess body fat, have lower blood lev­els of vi­ta­min D, likely be­cause the vi­ta­min is stored in fat in­stead of be­ing uti­lized. In th­ese situations, higher doses of vi­ta­min D are needed for healthy blood lev­els.

VI­TA­MIN D AND KID­NEY STONES: A re­cent study of healthy peo­ple found that tak­ing 1,200 mg daily of cal­cium with 600 IU of vi­ta­min D slightly in­creased risk for kid­ney stones. Tak­ing that amount of cal­cium with 10,000 IU daily of vi­ta­min D more than tripled the risk. How­ever, other re­search has found that tak­ing up to 1,000 IU of vi­ta­min D daily did not in­crease such risk. Mag­ne­sium and vi­ta­min K may help to pre­vent kid­ney stones. cal­cium and en­hances ab­sorp­tion of the min­eral. When taken in high doses, cal­cium can be de­posited in ar­ter­ies. Tak­ing vi­ta­min K with vi­ta­min D helps to get cal­cium into bones, rather than ar­ter­ies. Mag­ne­sium: With­out ad­e­quate mag­ne­sium, vi­ta­min D is less eff ec­tive be­cause it’s stored, rather than be­ing used. The Amer­i­can Os­teo­pathic So­ci­ety es­ti­mates that about half of Amer­i­cans are defi cient in mag­ne­sium.

Vi­ta­min D Tests: What They Mean

Not all ex­perts agree on the op­ti­mum level of vi­ta­min D in blood. Be­tween 12 and 20 ng/ ml ( nanograms per mil­li­liter) is con­sid­ered suffi cient to pre­vent a defi ciency that could cause rick­ets. How­ever, the En­docrine So­ci­ety con­cluded that lev­els above 30 ng/ ml are de­sir­able for op­ti­mum func­tion, and by this stan­dard, nearly 8 in 10 Amer­i­can adults lack suffi cient vi­ta­min D. Blood lev­els above 50– 60 ng/ ml may pro­duce ad­verse eff ects. Nat­u­ral Fac­tors

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