Vitamin D Supplements: 8 Things Every Beginner Should Know for Effective Use

Some people prefer to maintain optimal vitamin D levels with the help of natural sources and supplements. But before taking Vitamin D supplement, you should know some things.

We have been told since childhood to enjoy time in the sun. After all, sun exposure is the most natural way to get vitamin D. This is important for our health, as vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and other bone-related problems. Some people go beyond natural sources and start taking vitamin D supplements. Doctors can mostly support this decision, but there are a few things you should know before taking vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D deficiency can not only cause problems like osteoporosis in adults but can also cause rickets in children. Even though there are many ways to get vitamin D, according to a research published in 2023 by StatPearls, approximately one billion people in the world are deficient in vitamin D, which is a global public health issue.

Vitamin D actually plays an important role in many bodily functions. It aids calcium absorption, important for strong bones and teeth. Plus, it strengthens the immune system, regulates mood and supports muscle function, says clinical nutritionist Shabana Parveen. Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can also reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin D supplement is available in various forms. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is Vitamin D Supplement?

To maintain healthy levels of vitamin D, you need circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D greater than 30 nanograms per milliliter. Taking supplements can help maintain that level. Vitamin D supplements are basically a synthetic form of this essential nutrient. It is available in various forms like tablets, capsules or drops. People often use it to increase their vitamin D levels, especially when natural sources such as sunlight are inadequate.

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What to know before taking vitamin D supplements?

Supplements can be very helpful, but there are a few things you should consider before taking them.

1. Consult a health care professional

Experts say it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplements, especially vitamin D. Their expertise can guide appropriate dosage and possible interactions with medications.

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2. Assessing Current Vitamin D Level

A blood test can determine your current vitamin D level. This will help you know if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.

3. Underlying Health Conditions

Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, may interact with vitamin D supplements. Therefore, adjustment or careful monitoring is required.

4. Quality Assurance

When you buy a makeup product or a pair of shoes, you probably check the brand. The same applies to your supplements. Select reputable brands to ensure the purity and potency of the supplement.

5. Awareness of possible side effects

Although rare, excessive vitamin D intake can lead to toxicity, says Parveen. Familiarize yourself with symptoms such as nausea, weakness, and vomiting.

6. Combination with other nutrients

Some supplements or nutrients may affect vitamin D absorption. Get guidance on combinations from a professional to find out which combination works best.

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Know the side effects of vitamin D supplement. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Sunlight exposure

Adequate sunlight exposure aids natural vitamin D production. Therefore, consider your level of sun exposure when using supplements.

8. Considerations based on age and lifestyle

Different age groups and lifestyles may require different vitamin D amounts. Customize supplementation to your needs.

While obtaining vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight and fatty fish is ideal, supplements are valuable when natural intake is inadequate. You just have to strike a balance between both sources to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.

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