Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is a commonly taken supplement with increasing popularity. With numerous benefits for immunity, bone health and mental wellbeing, vitamin D supplementation is an essential part of any wellness routine.
Read on to discover more about the Myvitamins vitamin D range, the benefits of supplementation, and how to supplement safely.
- What Is Vitamin D3?
- Benefits Of Vitamin D3
- Vitamin D3 Sources
- Vitamin D3 Dosage
- Potential Side Effects
What is Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is an essential, fat-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed along with dietary fats, and are stored in the liver and body fat.
Within food and supplements, there are two forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. It is most often found in the form of vitamin D3, otherwise known as cholecalciferol. Both forms occur naturally and are synthesised through exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays in sunlight. However, vitamin D2 is synthesised in plants and fungi, whereas vitamin D3 is synthesised in humans and other animals.
Both forms of vitamin D can be used to fortify foods. Howeve`r, research suggests that vitamin D3 is superior for raising vitamin D levels within the body. Thus, vitamin D3 has become the prominent form used in supplements and fortified foods (1).
Benefits Of Vitamin D3
As an essential vitamin, vitamin D3 has a wide range of functions and benefits. The most vital roles of vitamin D are its involvement in calcium absorption and immune system function.
Vitamin D enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the diet. Vitamin D is required for adequate amounts of the hormone calcitriol. Without this, calcium absorption suffers, and the body draws calcium reserves from the bones and skeleton (2).
Healthy Bones and Joints
With calcium being drawn from the skeleton in the absence of vitamin D, this can lead to weakened bones. It may also prevent the growth of strong new bones, and increases risk of osteoporosis. Research also shows a correlation between vitamin D intake and reduced risk of arthritic pain and joint conditions. Therefore, vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and joints (2).
Vitamin D enhances the body’s immune response, enabling us to better fight off bacteria and viruses. Adequate vitamin D levels helps to improve the function of specialised white blood cells, such as T cells and macrophages. These work to defend the body against pathogens and keep us healthy (3).
Reduced Risk of Disease
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased risk of infection and disease. Individuals with low levels may have a higher likelihood of becoming diabetic, or of suffering from an irritable bowel. Research suggests healthy levels can maintain cardiovascular health and reduce risk of hypertension (4).
Research suggests that vitamin D is important in the regulation of mood. Sufficient vitamin D levels may improve symptoms in individuals experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety and depression (5).
Vitamin D3 Sources
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. However, some foods and fortified food choices may also provide varying levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, supplements may be utilised to reduce risk of nutritional shortfalls.
Vitamin D3 can be found naturally in a few animal-based foods. Many plant-based foods are also fortified with vitamin D3. The top food sources of vitamin D include:
Cod liver oil
Fortified orange juice
Dairy and fortified plant-based alternatives
Sunlight exposure is the best way to obtain adequate vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 is synthesised in the deeper levels of human skin when a steroid known as 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) absorbs UVB light. This is then transformed into vitamin D (6).
In spring and summer, around 10 minutes of sunlight daily ensures adequate vitamin D synthesis. However, in the colder months, it is not so easy to obtain vitamin D3 from sunlight.
Supplementing with vitamin D3 is a safe and convenient way to ensure you are obtaining adequate amounts daily. In lower light through the autumn and winter months, supplementing helps us maintain healthy vitamin D levels.
The Myvitamins Vitamin D Gummies and Vitamin D3 Softgels are two high-quality supplement options offering 25ug of vitamin D3 per dose. Designed to support the immune system and healthy bones and teeth, these offer an easy way to support your natural vitamin D levels.