Vitamin D – An Important Nutrient
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that allows our bodies to absorb calcium, which is vital for strong bones. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon and prostate cancers. Other health problems, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis have also been linked to insufficient levels of vitamin D.
How can you be sure that you are not vitamin D deficient?
We get vitamin D from exposure to the sun, dietary supplements and our diet. Once it is absorbed, vitamin D (the inactive form) goes to the liver and then the kidneys where it becomes the active form of vitamin D. The active form behaves like a hormone and goes all over the body. The main function of vitamin D is to absorb calcium from our bowels.
A blood test will tell your doctor if your vitamin D level is in the normal range. A normal vitamin D level is 30 ng/ml or more. Low vitamin D puts you at risk for osteoporosis, breast and bowel cancer.
Vitamin D supplements
It is important that your doctor checks vitamin D level at regular intervals. If it is low, your doctor may recommend that you take a supplement. The amount of vitamin D that you take depends on your age and your vitamin D level. A dose of no more than 4,000 IU of D3 is usually recommended. Toxicity can occur at higher levels.
Vitamin D is fat soluble. For this reason, it should be taken at dinnertime to ensure absorption.