THE QUEEN SAYS, "BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!"
Vitamins and minerals are chemicals. Although they are necessary to fuel our bodies, give us energy, and maintain optimal function, they should be used wisely because some of them can cause toxicity. But if one is deficient in a specific vitamin or mineral, this needs to be corrected to feel good, function at one’s best, and prevent disease.
Vitamin D3 is a good example. Vitamin D3 has been well researched by the medical community. Please see the National Institute for Health’s fact sheet concerning what is written here. I am giving you the “Cliff Notes”. The entire text can be found at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional.
THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN
I chose Vitamin D3 to discuss first because it illustrates how vitamins and minerals are interdependent in providing good nutrition to keep our bodies functioning optimally. In the case of Vitamin D3, it is necessary for the body to use calcium and phosphorus, which is essential to bone health. Not only is it important to our bones, but also important in heart health, immune support, and several other bodily systems. The systems in our bodies do not act independently from one another, and neither do vitamins and minerals. On this website (Queenofvitamins.com), you will find D3 under several categories. My desire is to have anyone using vitamin and mineral supplements to do so safely and wisely.
The only way to determine if you have a deficiency in Vitamin D3 is to ask your health care provider to do a blood test to check it. Based on the blood test. They will be able to recommend how much, if any, you should be taking.
Certain groups of the population who are more at risk of being deficient: Breastfed infants (formulas and milk are Vitamin D fortified), older adults, people with limited sun exposure, people with dark skin, people with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions causing fat malabsorption, and people who are obese or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Refer to the NIH website cited above for more details. There is one set of at-risk people who weren’t mentioned in that article and that is those individuals who work night shift and sleep during the day.
Some of the symptoms associated with Vitamin D3 deficiency include: bones becoming brittle (as in Rickets) or porous (as in osteoporosis), getting sick with colds, viruses, infections, or flu more often than usual, feeling tired all the time even though you’ve had enough sleep, depression, anxiety, taking an unusually long time for skin to heal, excessive hair loss, muscle aches, sweating (especially of the head), and digestive problems. Please note that there are other causes of these kinds of symptoms. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose or cure disease because only a physician or other licensed health care provider is able to do that.
A few things you can do to treat a diagnosed Vitamin D3 deficiency is to take a supplement as recommended by your licensed health care provider, increase your exposure to sunlight (taking care not to overexpose skin to the sun due to the risk of skin cancer), and include Vitamin D in your diet. Refer to Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate. A simple search on the internet will get you there. More specific information about increasing dietary Vitamin D3 is also included in the NIH article cited previously.
Vitamin D3 can be toxic if taken excessively. Annual physical exams by your primary care provider should include blood work to determine your level of this vitamin. Vitamin D toxicity can cause symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, excessive urination, and irregular heart patterns. More seriously, it can also raise blood levels of calcium which eventually can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys…the very things you are trying to support.
It is highly unlikely to become Vitamin D3 toxic from too much sun exposure.
One final word of caution: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS LET YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER KNOW ANY AND ALL VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS YOU TAKE!!! There are medications that can alter the way a prescription medication will work when taken with Vitamin D3. Treat your supplements with the same care you would if they were prescription medications.