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"Good health is your most precious asset."

Diana Mossop

Vitamin D

Introduction to Vitamin D

The fat-soluble vitamin D’s most important role is maintaining blood levels of calcium, which it accomplishes by increasing absorption of calcium from food and reducing urinary calcium loss. Both effects keep calcium in the body and therefore spare the calcium that is stored in bones. When necessary, vitamin D transfers calcium from the bone into the bloodstream, which does not benefit bones. Although the overall effect of vitamin D on the bones is complicated, some vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones and teeth.

Sources of Vitamin D

Cod liver oil is an excellent dietary source of vitamin D, as are vitamin D-fortified foods. Traces of vitamin D are found in egg yolks and butter. However, the majority of vitamin D in the body is created during a chemical reaction that starts with sunlight exposure to the skin. Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is the animal form of this vitamin.

Known Side Effect of Using Vitamin D

People with hyperparathyroidism should not take vitamin D without consulting a physician. People with sarcoidosis should not supplement with vitamin D, unless a doctor has determined that their calcium levels are not elevated. Too much vitamin D taken for long periods of time may lead to headaches, weight loss, and kidney stones. Rarely, excessive vitamin D may even lead to deafness, blindness, increased thirst, increased urination, diarrhea, irritability, children’s failure to gain weight, or death. Most people take 400 IU per day, a safe amount for adults. Some researchers believe that amounts up to 10,000 IU per day are safe for the average healthy adult, although adverse effects may occur even at lower levels among people with hypersensitivity to vitamin D (e.g. hyperparathyroidism). In fact, of all published cases of vitamin D toxicity for which a vitamin D amount is known, only one occurred at a level of intake under 40,000 IU per day. Nevertheless, people wishing to take more than 1,000 IU per day for long periods of time should consult a physician. People should remember the total daily intake of vitamin D includes vitamin D from fortified milk and other fortified foods, cod liver oil, supplements that contain vitamin D, and sunlight. People who receive adequate sunlight exposure do not need as much vitamin D in their diet as do people who receive minimal sunlight exposure. Vitamin D increases both calcium and phosphorus absorption and has also been reported to increase absorption of aluminum. Increased blood levels of calcium (which may be a marker for vitamin D status) have been linked to heart disease. Some, but not all, research suggests that vitamin D may slightly raise blood levels of cholesterol in humans. Certain medicines may interact with vitamin D. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years.