Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Vitamin D is the ‘workhorse’ of nutrients. Its popularity skyrocketed last year after cross-sectional studies found vitamin D deficiency was higher in COVID patients than in the control groups. With the potential exception of vitamin C, no vitamin is more frequently discussed than vitamin D.
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, it plays an important role in strengthening bones, absorbing calcium, and boosting immunity. Together with calcium, Vitamin D also prevents manifestations of osteoporosis among older adults.
You may have heard every vitamin D myth under the sun about the need for this vitamin. There is a belief that vitamin D is a miraculous medicine that will fix all issues if we all take greater amounts of it. Of course, this isn’t the case.
There is no such thing as a cure-all vitamin or supplement. All these myths make you want to throw your hands up in the air in despair.
This article deconstructs the five prevailing myths and addresses such issues. Continue reading to learn the facts regarding vitamin D, as well as some common misconceptions.
Myth #1: The higher your vitamin D levels, the better
Absolutely not. Vitamin D is not a magic bullet. Supplementation is often required for persons who have problems with fat absorption, lactose intolerance, milk allergies, darker skin tones, or medical disorders that prevent them from going outside.
However, too much of a good thing can be harmful, and Vitamin D is no exception. A rising number of people exceed the recommended upper limit. While getting too much vitamin D is rare, it is possible for this vitamin to build up and reach toxic levels in your body.
The effects of toxicity may linger for several months after you stop taking supplements since the vitamin is stored in body fat and released slowly into the bloodstream. Taking too many dietary vitamin D supplementations can lead to:
- Vitamin D intoxication
- Elevated blood levels
- Elevated blood calcium levels
- Nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite
- Bone pain
- Frequent urination
- Stomach pain and constipation
- Kidney failure
Myth #2: Getting enough vitamin D from food is simple
That’s a misconception. Telling someone to meet their vitamin D requirement through food is like giving someone a quart of paint to repaint his entire house. Modest intake levels are insufficient for maintaining healthy vitamin D status for life because few foods are fortified with Vitamin D.
You can get this vital nutrient from eggs, cheddar cheese, fortified meals like milk and cereal, fish, and mushrooms. Orange juice is fortified with vitamin D, just like milk. These foods only provide a small portion of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D.
There are two main kinds of vitamin D—vitamin D2 and vitamin D3—and both can be taken in supplement form. When shopping for supplements, It is important to remember to look for ones that offer the daily recommended allowance (RDA) needed as per your age bracket.
Myth #3: Taking vitamin D supplements will help you lose weight
This is one of the biggest myths about Vitamin D. This vital nutrient is being touted as a super nutrient that can help lose weight. However, there are no clinical controlled trials linking vitamin D with any disease other than osteoporosis. While it’s true that there is a link between obesity and a lack of vitamin D, there is no scientific evidence that taking a vitamin D supplement can help you lose weight.
Having enough vitamin D can help people live healthier lives, which could lead to weight loss. If bone aches and pains caused by a vitamin D deficiency prevent you from exercising, and vitamin D supplementation permits you to exercise more since the symptoms are gone, you may be able to become more active.
Myth #4: Women of all ages require the same amount of vitamin D
Generally, NO. A vitamin D test isn’t necessary for the majority of women. Most women need to make a few minor adjustments to ensure that they get enough vitamin D. However, some women may require more or less of vitamin D. Women who may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency are those who:
- Rarely go outside
- Cover their skin
- Use high-factor sunblock
- Have darker skin
- Have a BMI above 30
Taking a vitamin D supplement is especially crucial for anyone in these groups. However, unless you have been diagnosed with a deficiency, you do not require additional supplements.
Additionally, a supplement may be beneficial to pregnant women in particular, as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart, and nervous system to develop. Consult your primary care physician to see if you need to boost your vitamin D dosage.
Myth #5: Everyone’s vitamin D levels should be checked
Vitamin D levels must be in the proper range to ensure optimum health, and not everyone needs to go for a vitamin D test unless they exhibit the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. If you experience low vitamin D symptoms, such as weakened bones, softened bones, or fractures, your doctor may prescribe a vitamin D blood test.
The teThe test may also be sometimes used to check vitamin D levels in people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, psoriasis, and certain autoimmune diseases. Obesity, past gastric bypass surgery, advanced age, a dark complexion, and a lack of sunlight in your day are some risk factors that may prompt your doctor to recommend a routine laboratory vitamin D test.