Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for healthy and strong bones, from infancy into adulthood and old age. Children need "D” to build strong bones and prevent rickets, a cause of bowed legs, knock knees, and weak bones.

Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that most people don’t get enough of. Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body and is necessary for maintaining a good health. To understand more about the importance of this vitamin, it is enough to know that low vitamin D levels have been linked to serious health consequences, including osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, low immunity and even depression. Vitamin D is essential for healthy and strong bones from infancy into adulthood and old age. Children need “D” to build strong bones and prevent rickets, a cause of bowed legs, knock knees, and weak bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food. In older adults with osteoporosis, a daily dose of “D” and calcium helps to prevent fractures and fragile bones. It also has been shown to help reduce falls in the elderly community.

You may ask yourself how Vitamin D is produced or what are the sources of it. Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in the skin. That means people need to expose large parts of skin to the sunlight to produce enough levels in the body. Some healthcare professionals recommend exposing around a third of the area of the skin to the sun.

When this is practiced, an exposure of 10–30 minutes three times per week during the summer should be sufficient for most people with lighter skin. People with darker skin may need a bit longer than this as melanin; a component that prevents skin from absorbing ultraviolet light, is highly present in those people. Also, when exposing the body to the sun for 30 minutes, people should not be suing sunscreen protective creams as this will counteract the effect of sunlight absorption into the skin and hence the production of vitamin D. It is advised not to exceed this time limit without use of sunscreen as people with fair skin become prone to possibility of developing skin cancer.

After producing this non active form of vitamin D in the skin, Vitamin D will later undergo activation in the liver and the kidneys. This will lead to the final active form of vitamin D that will exert its beneficial effects on the different systems of the human body.

Other sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. In most instances, consuming regularly these products will not bring the sufficient amount to maintain normal levels of vitamin D in the body. While the venerable Institute of Medicine – IOM – defines normal levels at 20ng/ml, the much respected Endocrine Society issued a report urging a much higher minimum blood level of vitamin D, setting it at 30 ng/ml.

When exposure to sunlight regularly or consuming a diet rich in vitamin D are not possible, people are advised to get vitamin D from supplements. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. on top of this general prevalence value, some people are more susceptible to vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency than others. These include: age 50 or older, people with dark skin, people living far from the Equator, overweight or obese people, patients with gastric bypass surgery, milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Diseases that reduce nutrient absorption in the bowel, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. Old people living in institutions or patients on certain medications such as those for seizure.

How much vitamin D from supplements should be consumed? While the IOM recommends 600 IU as recommended dietary allowance (RDA), the Endocrine Society recommends 1500 – 2000 IU per day and the Canadian Society 2000 IU. Results of a recently conducted randomized controlled trial on vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy suggest a safe dose of 2000-4000 IU/day. On the safety level, the daily upper safe limit for vitamin D has been set at 4000 IU by IOM and 10,000 IU by the Endocrine Society. In order to improve the adherence to vitamin D supplement intake, people in need for vitamin D supplements can consume weekly doses between 25,000 and 50,000 IU as once per week. This has shown its efficacy and safety and proven to improve the compliance of the consumer to the product.

Surveal provides a variety of products containing Vitamin D either in combination with other ingredients for different indications or as mono-ingredient for the management of Vitamin D deficiency in the form of daily or weekly formulation.

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