Certain groups of people at risk of vitamin D deficiency could benefit from a supplement, says Acerra. These groups include:
- Older adults, who may spend less time outdoors and also have a decreased ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure due to aging
- People with limited sun exposure, including individuals who are homebound and those who are fully covered up when outdoors
- People with darker skin, due to the higher melanin pigment in the skin, which diminishes the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure
- People with fat malabsorption conditions such as liver disease and celiac disease, as fat is required for vitamin D absorption
- People living with excess weight or obesity, as greater fat storage sequesters the vitamin
- People who’ve had gastric bypass surgery, as the procedure affects the area of the gut where vitamin D is absorbed
Since vitamin D is naturally found in animal-based foods like fish and milk and requires fat for absorption, Acerra adds that supplementation may also benefit people who follow a lactose free, vegan or low-fat diet.
When Is the Best Time to Take a Vitamin D Supplement?
It’s best to take a vitamin D supplement with a meal that includes fat such as avocado, olive oil or cheese so it can be better absorbed, says Acerra.
Side Effects of Vitamin D Supplements
“Taking too much vitamin D can lead to an excess of calcium in the blood, resulting in symptoms such as frequent urination, weakness, nausea and vomiting,” notes Acerra. In extreme cases, toxicity can lead to kidney failure, accumulation of calcium salts in body tissues and heartbeat irregularities. This is typically caused by excess vitamin D supplement consumption, manufacturing errors and physician prescribing errors.
The safe upper limit for vitamin D is 100 micrograms or 4,000 IU for both adults and for children ages 9 and over. “More is not always better. Don’t overdo it,” cautions Acerra.
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News Source: https://www.forbes.com/health/body/best-vitamin-d-supplements/