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Vitamin D

Aug 28, 2017

Vitamin D


Vitamin D fact sheet:

    • Sunlight is the primary source of Vitamin D.
    • A very small number of foods naturally contain Vitamin D;
  • oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines
  • irradiated mushrooms
  • cod liver oil
  • Recent studies in humans have provided evidence that Vitamin D3 ❨cholecalciferol from animal sources❩ is more efficient than vitamin D2 from plant sources.


  • 41% of healthy adults, 49 to 83 years of age are found to be vitamin D deficient.
  • Students and young adults are also vitamin D deficient, especially those who work inside or who always wear sun protection.
  • Individuals who have darkly pigmented skin, those who are obese and the elderly have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Elderly care

    • In adults, Vitamin D maintains bone mineral density and prevents osteoporosis.
  • The body's largest source of calcium is found in bones, which are used to maintain serum levels. When Vitamin D is low, more bone is needed as a source of calcium to support balanced levels.
  • Vitamin D has a direct effect on muscle strength and is thought to maintain function of type II muscle fibers which could reduce risk of falling and fractures in the elderly.
  • Falls are the single most common cause of injury mortality in the elderly and account for 40% of all nursing home admissions.
Cod liver oil ❨1 soup spoon❩:
1,350 IU
Wild salmon ❨100g❩:
600- 1,000 IU
Farmed salmon ❨100g❩:
100-250 IU
Canned sardines ❨100g❩:
825 IU
Shiitake mushrooms ❨10
mushrooms❩: 650 IU
Mackerel ❨100g❩: 345 IU
Canned tuna ❨100g❩: 200 IU
Milk ❨1 cup❩: 90 IU

Pregnant/Nursing mothers and Infants

    • Vitamin D regulates calcium/phosphorus absorption and metabolism for bone health.
    • This role becomes more important during pregnancy and lactation as bones are developing rapidly during this period.
    • Insufficient Vitamin D intake during infancy can lead to low birth weight and/or result in the symptoms of rickets;
  • biochemical disturbances
  • reduced bone mineralization
  • slower growth
  • bone deformities
  • Increased risk of fracture

Protection from cancer

  • Studies have shown that Vitamin D helps prevent breast, colorectal, ovarian and prostate cancers.


  • Clinical trials have suggested that Vitamin D and calcium supplementation could have a role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in populations at high risk.
  • A study which began in 1966 administered 2000 IU of vitamin D to children and revealed there was an 80% reduction in the development of type 1 diabetes though-out the following 30 years in those children.

Protection from inflammation and cold/flu

    • Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of immune system function and suppresses T-helper cell over-activity, and works to prevent autoimmune diseases such as type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and graft rejection.
    • A recent randomized controlled trial gave evidence that vitamin D provides a dramatic preventative effect against influenza and colds. Vitamin D stimulates the expression of potent anti-microbial peptides and protects the lung from infection.
  • A low dose ❨800 IU/day❩ reduced reported incidence of cold or flu, and abolished the seasonality of cold and flu reports.
  • A higher dose ❨2000 IU/day❩, given during the last year of the trial, eliminated all reports of colds or flu.

Cardiovascular Disease

  • Researchers now believe that Vitamin D deficiency could contribute to congestive heart failure.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation results in a 9.3% decrease in systolic blood pressure, a 5.4% decrease in heart rate and substantially reduces C-reactive protein levels in critically ill patients.

Disorders of the brain and cognition

  • Vitamin D receptors are present in the brain
  • A review of older adults found a positive correlation between score on the mini-mental state examination and serum Vitamin D levels

Multiple sclerosis

  • Intake of Vitamin D is associated with a lower incidence of MS and Vitamin D supplementation is often recommended in the early stages of MS to lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Mood and well-being

  • Vitamin D levels are related to positive mood and well-being
  • People who suffer from unipolar and bipolar depression have significantly lower levels of Vitamin D.
  • In a randomized study, eight subjects with seasonal affective disorder given vitamin D supplementation showed improvements in depression measures.