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Vitamin D absorption

Milk

Image by Andreas Solberg via Flickr

According to new study consumption your vitamin D supplement with the largest meal of the day may boost its absorption substantially.

What does vitamin d do

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that not only regulates calcium, but also has many other beneficial actions.

Vitamin D may protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Vitamin D may also have some role in regulating the immune system and also reducing blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Proper vitamin D levels are needed to prevent osteoporosis. In conclusion, proper vitamin D levels are essential for one’s health, especially if you have thyroid problems. Unless a patient is exposed to sunlight or foods containing vitamin D, screening for Vitamin D deficiency is recommended for all thyroid patients. So it is important is vitamin D absorption factor.

Take Vitamin D with largest meal

Absorption increases by 50% when Vitamin D is taken with biggest meal.

Trials in Cleveland Clinic studied 17 men and women, average age 64, whose blood levels of vitamin D were borderline insufficient despite taking supplements, to take their supplements with the largest meal of the day.

After two or three months, the study participants had about a 50% increase in blood levels of the vitamin, regardless of the dose they took.

Researchers Guy B. Mulligan, MD, and Angelo Licata, MD, had noticed that patients in general take the supplement either on an empty stomach or with a light meal.

Because the vitamin D is fat-soluble, the researchers conjectured that taking it with a big meal would improve absorption.

Vitamin D is essential not only to keep bone strength, but studies now suggests it plays a role in immune system problems, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers measured blood levels of the vitamin in begin of the study and two or three months later. Participants took a range of doses, and the researchers divided them into three groups: less than 50,000 IU a week, 50,000 IU, and more than 50,000 IU. The daily doses varied from 1,000 IU to 50,000 IU.

A dose of 400 IU is termed adequate for people 51-70, and 600 IU for people 71 and older, as set by the Institute of Medicine, but some researchers believe much more is needed, especially in older adults. The current upper tolerable level is set at 2,000 IU daily. The recommendations are under review and an update is expected very soon.

At the study start, the average blood level of the form of vitamin D measured, 25(OH)D, was 30.5 nanograms per milliliter. By the end, it was 47.2 ng/mL. A level of 15 and higher is termed adequate by the Institute of Medicine for healthy people, but the study participants had a range of health problems, such as osteoporosis and thyroid problems.

Sources of Vitamin D

Few foods contain vitamin D naturally, and some foods are fortified with it. Vitamin D synthesis is also triggered when the body is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D is really two different compounds, cholecalciferol (vitamin D2), found mainly in plants and ergocalciferol (vitamin D3), found mainly in animals. Both of these hormones are collectively referred to as vitamin D, and they can either be obtained in two ways. One is by exposure of the skin to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of sunlight or also from dietary intake.
Vitamin D is found naturally in fish (such as salmon and sardines) and fish oils, eggs and cod liver oil. However most Vitamin D is obtained from foods fortified with Vitamin D, especially milk and orange juice. Interestingly, as breast feeding has become more popular, the incidence of Vitamin D deficiency has increased as less fortified milk is consumed.

Vitamin D deficiency may also occur in patients with malabsorption from their intestine, such as in the autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, which occurs frequently in patients with thyroid problems. Multivitamins also contain Vitamin D, as does some calcium supplements like Oscal-D and Citracal plus D.

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