As you spend more time indoors keeping safe, chances are, you and the kids aren’t getting your usual exposure to the sun. That means the body isn’t producing its natural form of vitamin D in the required quantity. Therefore, the need for supplements has never been greater.
With a daily recommendation of at least ten micrograms per day (quoted from the NHS, 2021), it’s important to know what’s best for you and the family. With that said, here’s your guide to understanding all the vitamin Ds available.
Types of Vitamin D Available
When your body gets adequate exposure to sunlight, your body produces natural vitamin D called vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. You’ll also find the natural form of vitamin D in some fish, dairy products, eggs, and lichen, a vegan-type fungus. The other type of vitamin D, known as vitamin D2 or calciferol, is made by plants. Vitamin D3 tablets are generally a better option to D2 because it is better absorbed and utilized by the body.
Do you need supplements?
With the abundance of vitamin D coming through the sun and the food we consume, is it still necessary to take vitamin D supplements? Suppose you live in climates with low sunlight or dress culturally or religiously to cover yourself up completely; chances are you could be deficient.
The UK Department of Health advises the public to take vitamin D supplements during autumn and winter because not only doesn’t it break down quickly, but your body store can quickly run low during periods of naturally low sunlight.
Depending on individuals, the dosage for daily vitamin D is different. It is advised that 10 milligrams is enough and that you should not take more than 100 milligrams as it could be harmful as opposed to beneficial.
You do not only need your vitamin D levels up for yourself during pregnancy, but you also need it for your baby’s development. Even with all the sun in the world, your baby can’t produce its vitamin D, so you need more than enough for you both. It is recommended to take at least ten mcg per day.
Children and Babies
The government pays special attention to children and babies and therefore recommends 8.5-10 mcg for under one-year-old babies and 10-15mcg for 1-4-year-olds. Vitamin D3 drops and chewable are smart ways of administering the supplements to them.
If you are a vegan, it becomes more difficult to obtain the right levels of vitamin D through diet alone. You can, however, get vitamin D2 from mushrooms. You can also opt for capsules containing vitamin D2. As an adult, 10-20mcg per day should be adequate.
There are risks associated with excess vitamin D consumption, such as over-calcification of bones, blood vessels, and other organs hardening. Excess vitamin D also causes headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, dry mouth, constipation, metallic taste, etc. So, the best way to avoid excess vitamin D is to stick to a natural source from diet and sunlight, but since there’ll be a need for supplements in special conditions, you might want to be careful with the daily consumption.
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