Supplements: Vitamin D

The vitamin D is a dietary supplement of high consumption in Puerto Rico. The two physiologically important forms of vitamin D are ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). These two forms are transformed in the body to become calcitriol (the active form). Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means it is fat soluble and your body can store it for a long time.

Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestine and is necessary for the growth and renewal of bones. On the other hand, it is essential for the modulation of cell development, neuromuscular and immune function and the reduction of inflammation. The vitamin D supplement can be found in several forms, such as: capsules, tablets, among others.

On the other hand, vitamin D can also be obtained through foods, such as: salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, shrimp, egg yolk, mushrooms, fortified foods (cow’s milk, soymilk, Chinese juice, cereal and oatmeal), among others.

  • Vitamin D can be acquired naturally through the sun’s rays. When you sunbathe, ultraviolet rays cause the body to generate active vitamin D using cholesterol. This will depend on several factors; some of them are:
  • The time of day when the sun is sunning
  • Where you live (if there is frequent sunlight or not)
  • Skin color (the darker, less absorption)
  • Sun exposure time
  • Others

With an exposure of approximately 15 minutes during 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, an adequate amount of vitamin D can be obtained depending on the factors mentioned above. It should be mentioned that it is always important to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure, due to the risks of burns or others.

Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer.

Some possible causes of vitamin D deficiency are:

  • Inadequate consumption of vitamin D through food
  • Poor exposure to sun rays
  • Dark skin
  • The kidneys do not convert vitamin D to its active form
  • The gastrointestinal tract does not properly absorb vitamin D
  • Obesity


Health benefits

Like any dietary supplement, vitamin D is awarded health benefits. To next, some of them:


Cash for …

  1. Familial hypophosphatemia – Taking oral calcitriol in combination with phosphate supplements is effective in treating bone disorders in people with familial hypophosphatemia.
  2. Hypoparathyroidism – The use of oral calcitriol is effective in increasing blood calcium concentrations in people with hypoparathyroidism.
  3. Osteomalacia- Vitamin D3 helps treat osteomalacia.
  4. Rickets – Oral calcitriol is effective in preventing and treating rickets.
  5. Vitamin D deficiency – The use of vitamin D helps prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency. The Institute of Medicine indicates that people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency if the blood value is less than 30 nmol / dL.


Probably effective for …

  1. Osteoporosis- The guidelines of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) in 2014 recommends the intake of 800-1,000 IU (International Units) daily with calcium to prevent osteoporosis in adults over 50 years of age. In patients with osteoporosis, NOF recommends the use of vitamin D supplementation to maintain adequate levels of this vitamin in the body. These recommendations are based on clinical research that has shown that using a vitamin D3 supplement with oral calcium can decrease bone loss related to post menopause, help prevent osteoporosis and decrease the risk of fractures.
  2. Psoriasis – Vitamin D in the form of calcitriol or another analog that is applied topically effectively treats psoriasis in some patients.

On the other hand, there is research that suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of several different conditions, including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.



For adults (over 18 years of age), the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin D is 600 IU daily. The Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) of vitamin D is 4,000 IU per day for adults. If the intake of this vitamin exceeds UL, the risk of adverse health effects increases.


Side effects and safety

Orally, the side effects of vitamin D are dose related. Vitamin D toxicity can cause symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, polyuria (excess urine) and cardiac arrhythmias. If the toxicity is more serious, it can also increase calcium levels in the blood, which leads to vascular and tissue calcification, causing damage to the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.


Drug interactions

Some medications that can interact with vitamin D are aluminum, atorvastatin (Lipitor), digoxin, diltiazem, diuretics “thiazide” (“water pills”), among others.


In conclusion…

Vitamin D can be obtained by feeding or supplementation. It is essential for many functions of the human body and many investigations continue to find the possible health benefits that vitamin D can have. If you think you can benefit from this supplement, remember to check with your doctor about it first. It is important to be guided in a responsible manner about the use of these products. In this way, you can complement traditional medicine with dietary supplements in a safe and efficient way. Until next time!


Cleveland Clinic. (2015). The Role Of Vitamin D & Vitamin D Deficiency. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15050-vitamin-d–vitamin-d-deficiency

Gunnars, K. (2019). Vitamin D 101 – A Detailed Beginner’s Guide. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-101#what-it-is

Jones, T. (2018). 9 Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d

National Institutes of Health. (2019). Vitamin D. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Natural Medicines. (2019). Vitamin D. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=929

Tello, M. (2018). Vitamin D: What’s the “right” level? Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-d-whats-right-level-2016121910893

Vitamin D Council. (n.d.). How do I get the vitamin D my body needs? Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/#.XTApOOhKg2w

WebMD. (2018). Vitamin D Deficiency: 6 Causes, Common Symptoms & Health Risks. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency#1

WebMD. (2018). Vitamin D: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Recuperado en agosto de 2019 de: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-929/vitamin-d

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