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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the name of a group of mischaracterized “secosteroids” that humans produce naturally when exposed to sunlight. While the term secosteroid may have you nervous if looking for a healthy vitamin, fear not as it is simply a classification of this vitamin based on its four ring steroid like molecular structure.

Humans and most mammals produce adequate amounts of this essential vitamin from simply being outside under the sun, however, in modern times many people find themselves lacking in vitamin D as a result of their more technological and artificial light based lives. If you are one of the countless masses with low vitamin D levels, you may develop osteomalacia (softening of the bones), inability to think clearly, muscle weakness, and unexplained fatigue.

What it does

Listing all the benefits of vitamin D3 supplementation is no easy task due to its widespread benefits, however research has shown significant benefits including reduced cardiovascular disease risk[1], enhanced weight loss[2], reduction in colorectal cancer rates[3], lowering of blood pressure[4], reduced bone fracture rate and potential injury prevention[5], increased insulin secretion[6], increased testosterone levels in men[7], reduced triglyceride levels[8], as well as increased absorption of dietary calcium[9].

How it works

Once ingested and absorbed into the body, vitamin D is carried to the liver where it is converted into calcifediol and before finally converting into calcitriol. Once in this final form, the compound is now capable of exerting maximal activation on the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which mediates most of the physiological actions provided by this vitamin.

Dosing

While the FDA sets our recommended daily allowance at a paltry 400IU, more up to date research shows doses of 1,000-10,000IU to be far more effective and perhaps necessary to combat insufficient vitamin D levels.

When choosing a vitamin D supplement, vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is considered the gold standard and should always be used over vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol as vitamin D3 provides significantly more absorption and bioavailability. Take your sole vitamin D3 dose in the morning for best results.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18574092
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22998754
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17296473
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587609
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307517
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12800453
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19321573
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23151536