Vitamin D3 FAQs: Sources, Deficiency, Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage

What Is Vitamin D3

Known as cholecalciferol, vitamin D3 is a form of the five types of vitamin D. It is an open-ring steroid, categorized chemically as a secosteroid.

Vitamin D3 as a supplement can be taken with many benefits, healthily improving the whole body and treating osteoporosis.

Are Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 the Same?

As mentioned, there are five types of vitamin D: D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. Only D2 and D3 are the most significant to the body. They can be taken as supplements in one of these two forms:

  1. Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2)
  2. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

Both vitamins, D2 and D3, have been believed to be the same since they were concluded as just vitamin D according to some historical studies of preventing rickets in children.

However, vitamin D3 has been proved by clinical trials to be superior to vitamin D2.

Recent research shows that vitamin D3 is about 85% more valuable than vitamin D2 in terms of raising and retaining the body’s vitamin D concentrations, with 200-300% higher to store vitamin D.

Any of the two forms has to get modified into an active form that can actually be obtained by vitamin D3 500 percent faster than by vitamin D2.

Also, vitamin D2 has a shorter shelf life which makes it a bit ineffective especially that its ability to bind with proteins in blood is poor.

Vitamin D3 deficiency in child and adult

Vitamin D3 deprivation has been historically associated with rickets that reflects vitamin D3 deficiency and usually affects children.

A major sign of rickets in either children who have it or adults who had it at their childhood is the bow-shaped legs.

Although adults with vitamin D3 deficiency don’t get the rickets disease, they may get osteomalacia a condition in which bones get softer.

Low levels of vitamin D3 are more probable to accompany people who have digestive problems like liver problems, celiac problems, or Crohn’s disease.

Sources of Vitamin D3

sources of vitamin d3

A natural source of vitamin D3 is the sunlight. That is why people who don’t get exposed much to sunlight, like bedridden patients or the nursing homes’, are probably the most to be deficient in it.

Also, the darker the skin of someone, the more need for sunlight is expected to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D.

The reason behind this is that darker skin slows vitamin D3 absorption because of the extra melanin.

Suggested by some studies, body absorption of vitamin D3 is affected by the time of day at which the individual receives sunlight.

Although avoiding sunlight from 10 AM to around 2 -3 PM is advised by many experts to keep skin away from cancer, data shows that this time is actually the best for your body to absorb vitamin D3.

Few more sources of vitamin D3 are listed below.

  • Cod Liver Oil – Cod liver oil is a good source of Vitamin D. Per one tablespoon, it can provide up to 1,300 IU of vitamin D which is more than the daily recommendation of the 1,000 IU. It’s available in different forms as oil form, liquid capsules, and supplements. The daily use of it can nourish the body with the needed vitamin D3.
  • Fortified Foods – Vitamin D3 can be obtained directly by fortified foods like milk and cereals. You would only need to make sure that the products you select are labeled with sufficient D3 that would decrease the occurrence of its deficiency. You’ll have a vital day ahead with only a bowl of fortified milk with cereal in the morning.
  • Egg Yolks – Egg yolks are also a major source of vitamin D3. You can get a day’s serving of D3 by scrambling eggs or making omelet.

Vitamin D3 Benefits and Side Effects

Vitamin D3 Benefits

So what is vitamin D3 for? There are lots of proven vitamin D3 benefits including assessing the body functions and boosting the immune system. It has been actually shown that it can prevent Flu including H1N1 Flu when it is at levels above 50. At those levels, fibromyalgia patients get genuine relief in their symptoms. Not to mention, it’s capable of preventing heart disease and high blood pressure. It has anti-cancer properties, as well.

It’s also used to treat the conditions with low vitamin D3 levels, such as in patients who have low levels of phosphate in blood, hypoactive parathyroid glands, or any genetic conditions in which the parathyroid hormone does not stimulate the body.

In addition, vitamin D3 keeps the body at the normal PH by motivating the kidneys to recycle phosphate back into the blood.

Also, vitamin D3 participates in the bone formation by performing many essential functions needed for the formation, including maintaining healthy levels of calcium and phosphate and enhancing the dental health. Here is a chart of vitamin D3 benefits.

Vitamin D3 benefits for human
Vitamin D3 Benefits Chart


Vitamin D3 Side Effects

Generally, vitamin D3 supplements have rare side effects.

However, it’s critical side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Swelling of the face, tongue, and throat
  • Heartbeat rhythm change including irregular or racing heartbeat
  • Severe dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Allergic reactions (rash or itching)
Rare Side Effects of Vitamin D3

In rare occasional cases, vitamin D can cause:

  • Xerostomia, dry mouth
  • Fragility and lack of energy
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Recommended Daily Dose of Vitamin D3

How much vitamin D3 is necessary per day?

The recommended daily dose of vitamin D3 depends on some factors. Vitamin D3 is ready to use as tablets that come in doses of 400 IU and 1000 IU. Vitamin D3 can also be obtained with calcium combined in a single pill.

Unless your doctor recommends, you should not take more than 4,000 IU of vitamin Ds a day.

Generally, it’s healthy to have vitamin D with food. However, prescription forms of vitamin D may be prescribed differently. So, in general, it’s best to take vitamin D with food. This may vary with prescription forms of vitamin D, so consult your doctor or pharmacist about the right way for you.

If you’re over 50 years old and have osteoporosis, you should take a daily dosage of 800 to1000 IU (20 to 25 mcg) of vitamin D with calcium.

If you take vitamin D and have an under active parathyroid, your doctor will prescribe the right dose for you.

And if your child has vitamin D-resistant rickets, your doctor may prescribe a daily dosage between 12,000 and 500,000 IU (0.3 to 12.5 mg a day) to your child.

Vitamin D3 benefits human body in many ways. We should avoid vitamin D deficiency in possible natural ways.

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