Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin that will help your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus. When you have the correct amount of vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium in your body, this contributes to building strong bones and keeping them in optimum condition.
Your own body makes vitamin D3, which helps to combat bone disorders such as rickets and osteomalacia. It is often called the "sunshine vitamin" because it's produced in your skin when you're exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is a member of a family of compounds that also include vitamins D1 and D2.
While your body produces vitamin D3 naturally when exposed to direct sunlight, you can also boost your levels by eating certain foods and taking supplements to make sure the correct levels of the vitamin are constantly in your blood. Vitamin D3 has multiple important functions.
One of the most vital is facilitating normal immune system functionality. Having a sufficient amount of vitamin D3 is important for the normal growth and development of our bones and teeth.
It has also been shown to improve resistance against certain diseases. If your body doesn’t contain enough vitamin D3, you're at a greater risk of developing bone abnormalities, such as fragile bones (osteoporosis) and soft bones (osteomalacia).
What prevents us from getting enough vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 is made by your own body, so under ideal circumstances, the correct amount of exposure to the sun would produce sufficient amounts of the vitamin to keep us healthy. However, most people need a little extra help, as various factors can stop us from absorbing vitamin D3.
Wearing protective clothing, having only limited exposure to sunlight and age-related factors may prevent our body from getting enough vitamin D3 naturally from the sun.
You may not realise how important this is, but consider the fact that vitamin D3, combined with calcium, can help treat osteoporosis and you'll have an idea of how vital it is to keep our body's levels correct.
Vitamin D3 is used in combination with other medications in the treatment of low levels of calcium or phosphate as a result of various disorders, such as familial hypophosphatemia, which can cause weakness and breathing problems.
It can also be used to keep calcium levels normal in the event of kidney disease and to allow regular bone growth. It is sometimes given to breast-fed babies in droplet form in the event that they have low levels of vitamin D.
Potential benefits of vitamin D3 Various studies have found that vitamin D3 can help fight diseases, but recent medical studies have found some perhaps surprising potential benefits of taking a supplement.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested having the correct amount of vitamin D3 in your body could help reduce the risks of multiple sclerosis. It may also reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Research published in 2010 suggested vitamin D3 could also reduce your likelihood of getting influenza, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Further research has shown that vitamin D3 can play a positive role in warding off depression.
Scientists discovered people with depression who took vitamin D3 supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms. How to use vitamin D3 Vitamin D3 is best taken orally, as directed. It is best to take a supplement after a meal. However, it can be taken with or without food.
Follow all the instructions on the product's packaging and if you have any queries, ask your pharmacist or your GP. If you have been prescribed vitamin D3 by your doctor, you should take it as directed, as your recommended dose will be based on your medical condition, the amount of exposure you have to the sun, your age, diet and your response to treatments.
The modern way of taking vitamin supplements is in the chewable gummies format, as they taste pleasant and are easy to chew and swallow. They are ideal for people who have trouble swallowing traditional tablets or don't usually like the taste. You can also choose vitamin D3 Gummies that are vegetarian, cruelty-free and gluten-free, should you have these dietary requirements.
Novomins' Vitamin D Gummies are scientifically formulated to contain 4000 IU of vitamin D, which aids the normal maintenance of the body's immune system, including bones, teeth and muscle function. Also available are vitamin D3 Softgels that are extremely easy to swallow.
How do other medications affect vitamin D3?
Some other medications - such as bile acid sequestrants like cholestyramine and colestipol, or mineral oil - can decrease the way your body absorbs vitamin D3. If you're taking any of these medications, take them at a different time from your dose of vitamin D3. Leave the doses as far apart as possible. Ideally, take them at least two hours apart, but leave them longer when possible.
If you're also taking these other medications, it may be easier to take your dose of vitamin D3 at bedtime. If in any doubt, ask your pharmacist or doctor how long you should wait between doses.
They should be able to help you to work out a dosing schedule to ensure all your medications will work properly. When taking vitamin D3, you should take it regularly to get the most benefits.
Try to take it at the same time each day, if you're taking it once a day. If you're taking it less often, it can help if you mark it down on your calendar when you last took it, as a reminder not to miss your next dose. Your doctor may have recommended that you also follow a special diet, including one that is high in calcium, to complement your vitamin D3 intake.
To get the most benefits from this supplement, it is helpful to follow the correct diet too. If you're already taking other supplements or vitamins, check with your doctor before commencing a new treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Taken at normal doses, vitamin D3 does not usually have any side effects. However, contact your pharmacist or GP if you feel you are experiencing any side effects. If your GP has recommended you take this supplement, he or she will have taken into account your medical conditions and history and will have judged that it will be beneficial to you.
Research has shown the majority of people taking vitamin D3 do not have any serious side effects. However, do not overdose on the supplement in the mistaken belief that more is better, as the correct doses are carefully worked out by the medical profession. Taking vitamin D supplements can help support your body's vitamin D levels throughout the year, with or without sunlight.