A lack of vitamin D can lead to several different health problems. Vitamin D is essential for proper bone development and maintenance, but it is also important for neurological, musculoskeletal, and immune function. Therefore, ingesting too little into the body can endanger the body in many ways. If you find yourself deficient in vitamin D, it may seem like a simple matter of getting a nearby vitamin D supplement and staying on top of your vitamin D. However, the reality is not so simple.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and its absorption depends on the ability of the intestine to absorb fats from the diet. Most people know that sun exposure helps the skin to produce its own vitamin D. It is relatively easy for the body to activate this process, especially since only a short burst of sun can initiate it. Vitamin D is also abundant in fatty fish and seafood such as cod liver, salmon, and sardines.
More than 41% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, despite a variety of sources. Scientists continue to work to understand vitamin D metabolism, as all possible reasons for the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency are still unknown. Two key explanations for his lack of vitamin-rich foods and lack of sunlight are given, but understanding at a deeper level is still lacking. For example, African Americans have almost twice the deficiency rate as the general population. At the same time, they tend to have higher bone density and a lower risk of osteoporosis compared to Caucasians.
Vitamin D supplements are usually your first line of defense against deficiency, and for good reason. These supplements can be expected to prevent diseases such as diabetes and dementia. However, because of the variety of forms available, their fat-soluble nature, their relationship with calcium, and their absorption tendencies, it is important to know the best way to choose and consume this type of supplement.
Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3
There are two forms of vitamin D that appear on supplement labels: vitamin D2 and D3.
D2 is the form found in plant foods and is not as effective as D3, the more active form produced by our bodies. Most of the time, the doctor will probably tell you to find her D3, but going one step further than that could be the key to really leveling up.
How to get the most out of your supplements
Going a step further than making sure you take a D3 supplement is the key to effectively processing vitamin D and ensuring your body has what it needs to truly boost your vitamin D levels.
maintain a healthy weight
- Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, overweight people accumulate more vitamin D in their fat cells rather than in their circulation. For this reason, overweight and obese people commonly have vitamin deficiencies and require higher doses to correct them.
eat foods rich in boron
- Boron is an element found in food that you may not have heard much about, but you probably should. It helps the body metabolize key vitamins and minerals, with vitamin D being the number one. Boron essentially overcharges vitamin D by extending its half-life. In other words, it takes longer for vitamin D to be broken down in your body, allowing you to consume larger amounts for longer. It also helps regulate magnesium and phosphorus, which are important parts of vitamin D metabolism. Although dietary recommendations for boron have not been established, it is nevertheless important to ensure a daily intake of boron. The most common food sources include apples, coffee, dried beans, milk and potatoes. Some people opt for supplements, but it’s easy to overdose, so it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before considering them.
Make sure your supplement contains vitamin K
- Unless you’re eating a lot of natto or goose liver pate, you probably aren’t getting enough bioavailable vitamin K. When supplementing with vitamin D, look for one that also contains vitamin K2. Both vitamins work synergistically to keep calcium in balance. Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium easily, and vitamin K2 helps ensure that calcium moves to the bones instead of the arteries, which can lead to plaque buildup. Taking vitamin K is especially important for people with severe deficiency who need high doses of D3. Studies have shown that taking high doses alone can lead to excessive intake of calcium, which has several health effects.
take supplements with meals
- You can take supplements without food, but that’s not the best option. Since vitamins D and K are fat-soluble, they are best taken with a meal containing fat to facilitate their absorption through the bloodstream. You don’t have to do anything special. Just a meal cooked in olive oil or avocado toast will suffice.
Vitamin D metabolism is a complex subject, and scientists have only scratched the surface in understanding its details. So far, we know that vitamin D supplements can help reverse vitamin D deficiency, but that may not be the case if the supplement is taken incorrectly. If you think you’re lacking, talk to your doctor or dietitian about getting a blood test and taking further steps from there.
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