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Vitamin D Deficiency (& Benefits of Vitamin D) A Complete Guide

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Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones and a healthy immune system. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate, which are needed for normal bone mineralization. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak bones and an increased risk of certain health conditions. It’s important to get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure, diet, and/or supplements.

Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as for supporting the immune system. It is produced in the skin in response to exposure to sunlight, and it can also be obtained from certain foods, such as fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphate, which are needed for the normal mineralization of bone. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to weak bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D supplements are often recommended for people who are at risk of deficiency, such as older adults, people with dark skin, and people who are not exposed to much sunlight.


Isn’t Vitamin D a hormone? 

Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as a hormone because it is produced in the body and has hormonal activity. However, it is not a classical hormone in the same way that hormones like testosterone and estrogen are. Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun. It is then converted to its active form, calcitriol, in the liver and kidneys. Calcitriol acts on cells throughout the body to regulate the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphate, which are important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also has other effects on the body, including immune system regulation and the expression of certain genes. Because of its many functions in the body, vitamin D is sometimes referred to as a “prohormone.”


How does Vitamin D and sunlight work?

Sunlight Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun. When UVB rays come into contact with the skin, they stimulate the production of vitamin D. The process by which vitamin D is produced in the skin is called photosynthesis.

Vitamin D is produced in the form of a prohormone, called 7-dehydrocholesterol. When UVB radiation hits the skin, it breaks the bond between two specific atoms in 7-dehydrocholesterol, which causes the prohormone to be converted into previtamin D3. Previtamin D3 is then converted into vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, through a series of chemical reactions that involve heat.

Vitamin D3 is transported to the liver, where it is converted into calcidiol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Calcidiol is the form of vitamin D that is measured in blood tests to determine vitamin D status. Calcidiol is then converted into its active form, calcitriol, in the kidneys. Calcitriol is the form of vitamin D that has hormonal activity in the body.


Vitamin D Intake (How do supplements work?)

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D supplements come in several forms, including vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms are converted into their active form, calcitriol, in the body. Calcitriol is the form of vitamin D that has hormonal activity and is responsible for the effects of vitamin D on the body.

When you take a vitamin D supplement, it is absorbed from the digestive system and enters the bloodstream. From there, it is transported to the liver, where it is converted into calcidiol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Calcidiol is the form of vitamin D that is measured in blood tests to determine vitamin D status.

If the body’s vitamin D levels are low, calcidiol is then converted into calcitriol in the kidneys. Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D and is responsible for regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphate, which are important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also has other effects on the body, including immune system regulation and the expression of certain genes.

Vitamin D supplements can be used to treat or prevent vitamin D deficiency. They are often recommended for people who are at risk of deficiency, such as older adults, people with dark skin, and people who are not exposed to much sunlight. They may also be recommended for people with certain medical conditions that affect the absorption of vitamin D, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.

Is there a best time for vitamin D intake?

There is no specific best time for vitamin D intake, as the body can absorb and utilize vitamin D at any time.

If you are taking a vitamin D supplement, it’s generally recommended to take it with a meal that contains some fat, as vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is best absorbed when taken with fat. However, it is not necessary to take the supplement at any specific time of day.


What’s the relationship with vitamin D and Celiac disease? 

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. People with celiac disease have a reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, that causes inflammation in the small intestine. This can lead to a number of digestive symptoms, as well as malnutrition due to the inability to properly absorb nutrients from food.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with celiac disease, even if they are following a gluten-free diet. This is because the inflammation and damage caused by celiac disease can affect the absorption of nutrients from the small intestine, including vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak bones, a condition known as osteomalacia, as well as an increased risk of other health problems.

Vitamin D supplements may be recommended for people with celiac disease to help prevent deficiency. It is also important for people with celiac disease to get enough vitamin D through their diet, either through foods that are naturally high in vitamin D or fortified with vitamin D. Some good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.


Whole Food Sources

Beef Liver and Vitamin D

There are not many natural sources of vitamin D in the diet. However, some good dietary sources of vitamin D include:

  1. Fatty fish: Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are high in vitamin D.
  2. Cod liver oil: This is one of the best sources of vitamin D, with a tablespoon providing more than the daily recommended intake.
  3. Beef liver: This is a good source of vitamin D, with one serving (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) providing up to six times the daily recommended intake.
  4. Egg yolks: One large egg yolk contains about 10% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.
  5. Cheese: Some types of cheese, such as Swiss and Parmesan, contain a little vitamin D.

Why is beef liver a good source of vitamin D?

Beef liver is a good source of vitamin D because it contains high levels of the nutrient. One serving of beef liver (3.5 ounces or 100 grams) can provide up to six times the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.

Why are eggs yolks a good source of vitamin D?

Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D because they contain small amounts of the nutrient. One large egg yolk contains about 10% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.

Why is cod liver oil a good source of vitamin D?

Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D because it contains high levels of the nutrient. One tablespoon of cod liver oil can provide more than the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.

How much vitamin D is in fatty fish?

Fatty fish are a good source of vitamin D, with various types and sizes of fish containing different amounts of the nutrient. Here are some examples of the amount of vitamin D contained in some common types of fatty fish:

  • Salmon (3.5 ounces or 100 grams): Provides about 447 IU (international units) of vitamin D
  • Mackerel (3.5 ounces or 100 grams): Provides about 345 IU of vitamin D
  • Sardines (3.5 ounces or 100 grams): Provides about 250 IU of vitamin D
  • Herring (3.5 ounces or 100 grams): Provides about 200 IU of vitamin D

It is worth noting that the vitamin D in fish can vary depending on the species, size, and location where the fish was caught. Wild-caught fish tend to contain higher levels of vitamin D than farm-raised fish.


What’s the most bioavailable form of vitamin D?

Vitamin D is available in several forms, including vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms can be converted into their active form, calcitriol, in the body. Calcitriol is the form of vitamin D that has hormonal activity and is responsible for the effects of vitamin D on the body.

Vitamin D3 is generally considered to be more bioavailable than vitamin D2. Bioavailability refers to the amount of a nutrient that is absorbed and available for use in the body. Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that is produced in the skin in response to UVB radiation from the sun. It is also the form of vitamin D that is found in animal-derived foods, such as fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Vitamin D2 is produced by plants and is found in some fortified foods and supplements. It is not as well absorbed and utilized by the body as vitamin D3. However, both forms of vitamin D can be effective in raising and maintaining vitamin D levels in the body, and both are widely used in supplements and fortified foods.

It is important to get enough vitamin D through a combination of sunlight exposure, diet, and supplements.


How much vitamin D do you get from sunlight?

Sun and Vitamin D

The amount of vitamin D that you can produce in the skin through sunlight exposure depends on several factors, including the time of year, the time of day, your location, the amount of skin exposed, and the amount of melanin in your skin. Melanin is a pigment that provides color to the skin, hair, and eyes, and it also protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Here are some general guidelines that can be produced in the skin through sunlight exposure:

  • 15 minutes of midday sun exposure (between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) on the face, arms, and legs 2-3 times per week can produce enough vitamin D for most people.
  • During the summer months, when the sun is higher in the sky, shorter amounts of time may be needed to produce enough vitamin D.
  • During the winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky, longer amounts of time may be needed to produce enough vitamin D.
  • People with darker skin may need more time to produce enough vitamin D due to the higher levels of melanin in their skin.

Overcome Vitamin D Deficiency 

The best way to get the right amount of vitamin D supplementation depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Here are some general guidelines for getting the right amount of vitamin D through supplementation:

  1. Get a blood test and find out the appropriate amount of vitamin D supplementation specifically for your body.
  2. Choose a high-quality supplement: Look for a supplement that contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), as this form is generally considered to be more bioavailable than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Choose a supplement that has been tested for purity and potency and that meets the recommended daily intake for vitamin D.
  3. Follow the recommended dosage: Follow the dosage instructions on the supplement label or as directed by your healthcare provider.
  4. Consider your diet: If you are getting enough vitamin D through your diet, you may not need a supplement. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.

How important is Magnesium when it comes to proper vitamin D levels?

Supplementing vitamin D is nearly useless without proper magnesium intake.

Magnesium is important for maintaining proper vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D and magnesium work together to support bone health and regulate calcium levels in the body. Magnesium is needed for the activation of vitamin D, and low levels of magnesium can reduce the effectiveness of vitamin D.

Magnesium is a mineral that is important for various functions in the body, including bone health, nerve function, muscle function, and energy production. It is found in a variety of foods, however most people don’t eat enough Magnesium. Magnesium supplements are nearly essential for most diets.

The best full spectrum electrolyte blend (containing Magnesium) is Cardnl’s Salty Lemon Twist Essential Electrolytes.

Zero Sugar Electrolytes

What’s the daily recommendation for magnesium?

The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies depending on age, sex, and life stage. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has established the following daily recommended intake of magnesium for adults:

  • Men aged 19-30: 400 milligrams (mg)
  • Men aged 31 and over: 420 mg
  • Women aged 19-30: 310 mg
  • Women aged 31 and over: 320 mg

These recommendations apply to adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher magnesium needs and should aim for the following daily intake:

  • Pregnant women: 350-400 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 310-320 mg

How important is calcium and vitamin D supplementation?

Calcium is important for maintaining proper vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium, and calcium is essential for the normal mineralization of bone. Together, vitamin D and calcium play a key role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Calcium is a mineral that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as for muscle function and blood clotting. It is found in a variety of foods, including dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and nuts. Calcium supplements are also available and may be recommended for people who are at risk of deficiency, such as postmenopausal women and people with certain medical conditions.

What are the best food sources of calcium?

Calcium is a mineral that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as for muscle function and blood clotting. It is found in a variety of foods, including:

  1. Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium. One cup of milk contains about 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium, while 1.5 ounces of cheese contains about 200-300 mg of calcium.
  2. Leafy green vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach are high in calcium. One cup of cooked broccoli contains about 180 mg of calcium, while one cup of cooked kale contains about 180 mg of calcium.
  3. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame seeds, and tahini (sesame seed paste) are good sources of calcium. One ounce of almonds contains about 75 mg of calcium, while two tablespoons of sesame seeds contain about 88 mg of calcium.
  4. Fish: Some types of fish, such as sardines and salmon, contain small amounts of calcium. One can of sardines contains about 325 mg of calcium, while 3.5 ounces of cooked salmon contains about 181 mg of calcium.

What’s the daily recommendation for calcium?

The recommended daily intake of calcium varies depending on age, sex, and life stage. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has established the following daily recommended intake of calcium for adults:

  • Men and women aged 19-50: 1,000 milligrams (mg)
  • Men and women aged 51-70: 1,000 mg (1,200 mg for men over age 70)
  • Women aged 51-70: 1,200 mg (1,200 mg for women over age 70)

These recommendations apply to adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher calcium needs and should aim for the following daily intake:

  • Pregnant women aged 19-50: 1,000 mg
  • Breastfeeding women aged 19-50: 1,000 mg

What supplements should you take to improve vitamin D absorption? 

There are a few supplements that may help improve vitamin D absorption in the body. These include:

  1. Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 is a nutrient that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It works together with vitamin D to help regulate calcium levels in the body. Vitamin K2 supplements may be helpful for people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency or who are taking vitamin D supplements.
  2. Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that is important for various functions in the body, including bone health, nerve function, muscle function, and energy production. It is needed for the activation of vitamin D, and low levels of magnesium can reduce the effectiveness of vitamin D. Magnesium supplements may be helpful for people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency or who are taking vitamin D supplements.
  3. Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that is important for various functions in the body, including immune function and wound healing. It may help improve the absorption and utilization of vitamin D in the body. Zinc supplements may be helpful for people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency or who are taking vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D may be toxic? 

Vitamin D toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis D, is a condition that occurs when there are high levels of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as for supporting the immune system. It is produced in the skin in response to exposure to sunlight, and it can also be obtained from certain foods, such as fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Vitamin D toxicity can occur when a person takes high doses of vitamin D supplements over an extended period of time. It can also occur when a person is exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight or when a person has a medical condition that causes the body to produce too much vitamin D.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • Itching
  • Weight loss

Vitamin D toxicity can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood, a condition known as hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and confusion. It can also lead to kidney damage and calcification of the soft tissues, which can be serious and potentially life-threatening.


Roll of Vitamin D (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here we’ll review a lot of frequently asked questions about Vitamin D.

What are the signs you need vitamin D?

There are a few signs that you may need more vitamin D, including:

  1. You have bone pain or muscle weakness: Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to weak bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Symptoms of rickets and osteomalacia can include bone pain and muscle weakness.
  2. You have a higher risk of deficiency: Some people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to their age, skin type, or lifestyle. Older adults, people with dark skin, and people who are not exposed to much sunlight are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
  3. You have a medical condition that affects vitamin D absorption: Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D. People with these conditions may be at risk of deficiency and may need to take vitamin D supplements.
  4. You have a poor diet: Vitamin D is found in a limited number of foods, including fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks. People who have a poor diet or who do not consume these foods may be at risk of deficiency.

Which fruit is rich in vitamin D?

There are no fruits that are naturally high in vitamin D. However, some types of mushrooms may contain small amounts of vitamin D. In particular, shiitake and maitake mushrooms may contain small amounts of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). It is worth noting that the vitamin D content of mushrooms can vary depending on the specific type of mushroom and how it is grown.

How can I increase my vitamin D naturally?

There are a few ways to increase your vitamin D levels naturally:

  1. Spend time in the sun: One of the most natural ways to increase your vitamin D levels is to spend time in the sun. Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. It is important to get sun exposure.
  2. Eat vitamin D-rich foods: Some foods are naturally high in vitamin D, including fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks. Incorporating these foods into your diet can help increase your vitamin D intake.
  3. Take vitamin D supplements: Vitamin D supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquid.

Does vitamin D help with depression?

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of depression, and some studies have found that vitamin D supplements may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression in people with vitamin D deficiency. However, the results of these studies have been mixed, and more research is needed to understand the relationship between vitamin D and depression.

Do vitamin D pills expire?

Like all medications and supplements, vitamin D pills can expire. Expiration dates are typically indicated on the packaging of the product, and it is important to check the expiration date before using the product. Using an expired product may not be safe, as the potency of the product may have decreased over time.

Does vitamin D give you energy?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D may have a role in energy metabolism, as it is needed for the body to properly use carbohydrates and fats for energy. However, it is not clear whether taking vitamin D supplements can directly increase energy levels. Some studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with fatigue and tiredness, and that correcting a deficiency may improve energy levels. However, more research is needed to understand the relationship between vitamin D and energy.

Does vitamin d increase testosterone?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D may have a role in testosterone production. Testosterone is a male hormone that is important for maintaining muscle mass, bone density, and sex drive. Some studies have found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with low testosterone levels in men. However, the relationship between vitamin D and testosterone is not fully understood, and more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Can vitamin D cause kidney stones?

There is some evidence to suggest that high levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of kidney stones. Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form in the kidneys. They can cause pain and discomfort when they pass through the urinary tract.High levels of vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood, a condition known as hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can increase the risk of kidney stones by causing the body to produce too much urine, which can lead to a build-up of calcium in the urine. Hypercalcemia can also cause the calcium in the body to be deposited in the soft tissues, leading to calcification of the tissues.

Does artificial sunlight produce vitamin D?

Artificial sunlight, such as that produced by tanning beds and sun lamps, can produce vitamin D in the skin. Tanning beds and sun lamps produce artificial UVB rays, which can stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin.

Can vitamin D deficiency cause dizziness?

Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of symptoms, including fatigue, muscle weakness, and bone pain. It can also cause dizziness, which may be due to the effects of vitamin D deficiency on the nervous system and the muscles. In severe cases, vitamin D deficiency can cause a condition called osteomalacia, which can cause bone pain and muscle weakness.

Should vitamin D3 be taken with K2?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 may have complementary effects on bone health. Vitamin D3 is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as it helps the body absorb calcium from the diet. Vitamin K2 is important for maintaining bone density, as it helps the body use calcium to build bone. Some studies have found that taking vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 together may be more effective in improving bone density than taking either vitamin alone.

Will vitamin D pills hurt a dog?

It is not recommended to give vitamin D supplements to dogs without the guidance of a veterinarian. Vitamin D is toxic to dogs in high doses, and taking too much can cause serious health problems, including kidney damage and calcification of the soft tissues. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicity in dogs may include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination.

What are normal vitamin D levels?

The normal range for vitamin D levels in the blood is generally considered to be 20-50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). However, some experts believe that levels above 30 ng/mL are optimal for health.

Should vitamin d be taken with food?

Vitamin D supplements are typically taken orally in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquids. They can be taken with or without food, but it is generally recommended to take them with a meal to help improve their absorption. Some studies have found that taking vitamin D supplements with a meal that contains fat may improve their absorption, as vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is absorbed along with fats in the diet.

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Complete Guide to Vitamin D

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