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Limitations, Side Effects, Toxicity, and Risks of Vitamin D Supplementation

Limitations, Side Effects, Toxicity, and Risks of Vitamin D Supplementation

Sunlight is necessary 

Like most life on Earth, humans need clean air, water, food, and sunlight to survive. All life evolves to exploit the nutrients available in the environment, and instinctively, most of us know this includes the power of the sun. There is an abundance of compelling scientific research that confirms our innate desire to go outside on a sunny day to soak up those rays. This research proves that the vitamin D that our bodies produce using sunlight is essential to our well-being and survival. 

Recent medical research has focused on vitamin D and its role not only in bone health, but in preventing depression, cancer, and other diseases. These studies consistently show that higher vitamin D from sunlight is associated with improved physical, mental, and immune function. However, studies of vitamin D supplementation do not show the same health effects. Why are oral vitamin D supplements not enough? Why, in fact, do supplementation sometimes exacerbate the problem or, as recent research shows, cause new problems? 

The answer lies in understanding the complex system our bodies naturally use to provide us with vitamin D efficiently and safely. Our bodies have evolved to produce many beneficial hormones, including vitamin D, when our skin is exposed to sunlight. When we spend a day in the sun, we may worry about sunburn, but we never worry about an overdose of vitamin D. 

Impressively, the body has developed a foolproof system to keep us from getting too much Vitamin D when it’s made by sunlight and made in our skin. In fact, vitamin D is regulated in the human body only when vitamin D is formed in the skin, while vitamin D taken up through the stomach bypasses this basic protection. 

Vitamin D binding protein (DBP) 

At the heart of this system lies the Vitamin D protein (DBP). This protein is the powerhouse to ensure we always get exactly the amount of Vitamin D we need. DBP controls the delivery of vitamin D and the bioavailability of vitamin D and calcitriol, a pro-steroid hormone that is the active form of vitamin D. DBP is a multifunctional protein found in action everywhere in the body: in the blood, ascitic fluid, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as on the surface of many Cell types. [1] The main role of DBP is to maintain stable stores of vitamin D metabolites in the serum and to modulate bioavailability, activation and delivery rates at the cellular level. The liver produces 25-hydroxyvitamin D and calitriol produced in the kidneys), and transports them to target tissues. 

 Vitamin D supplementation versus sunlight

When skin is exposed to sunlight, especially light in the ultraviolet B (UVB) spectrum, it sets off a slow, sustained release of vitamin D resulting in elevated, consistent concentrations of vitamin D over several days. When light hits the body, it converts the cholesterol in the upper layers of the skin into pre-vitamin D3. However, DBP will not bind to this form of vitamin D for transport. First, the skin must convert vitamin D3 into vitamin D3. Only then will DBP pick it up for carefully measured delivery from the skin into the bloodstream over the course of several days. These internal controls result in a slow and steady flow of vitamin D3 into the liver that persists for more than two weeks. The body has evolved to ensure that Vitamin D3 does not reach the liver too quickly. After reaching the liver, 

On the other hand, vitamin D intake bypasses all regulatory processes in the body and allows vitamin D to be transported and absorbed by the liver within a few hours. Bad cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Vitamin D3 delivered to the liver via DBP slowly and steadily as part of a water-soluble molecule, while Vitamin D3 coming from the stomach reaches the back of cholesterol and fat in a huge deposit that requires immediate processing. In this way, vitamin D supplementation bypasses the natural regulators of production and distribution in the body. With no DBP to monitor delivery or absorption, oral vitamin D supplementation provides a roller coaster-like experience, feast or starvation in vitamin D availability. [9] In extreme cases, sudden large increases in vitamin D due to dietary supplement intake can increase calcium absorption into the blood (hypercalcemia) and overburden the liver and kidneys, which are not designed to receive such concentrated doses. While vitamin D toxicity is rare, it has been observed as a result of taking large doses of supplemental vitamin D for long periods of time. Supplements provide an intermittent, unreliable, and short-lived supply of vitamin D. 

Do Vitamin D Supplements Work?

Oral vitamin D supplements are not effective for a surprisingly large number of people. The human body is designed to make vitamin D through the skin when exposed to sunlight, rather than absorbing this important hormone through the digestive system. It has been shown that supplemental ingestion of vitamin D does not correlate properly, with no more than 60% associated with DBP in humans. 

Additionally, approximately 32 million Americans have fat malabsorption (cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, celiac, liver disease, etc.) that prevents them from absorbing fat-soluble vitamin D supplements, yet their bodies can produce Large amounts of vitamin D from UV rays. Light. Because supplements circumvent the body’s natural process of regulating vitamin D and do not properly bind to DBP, they are not effective for supporting systemic health in the same way as sunlight-derived vitamin D. 

Achieving the right balance 

Our bodies are programmed to determine optimal levels of Vitamin D and work with sunlight to keep us in perfect balance. It is known that a higher circulating vitamin D concentration is associated with a lower risk of many chronic diseases, including common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disease. However, there are several studies that have shown a perplexing U-shaped association, in which low and high levels of vitamin D lead to increased risk of some cancers, negative cardiovascular outcomes and mortality. It has also shown that while high levels of vitamin D from the sun are beneficial in preventing breast cancer and depression, vitamin D supplementation does not provide such a benefit. This indicates that although vitamin D deficiency is a problem, getting too much vitamin D through supplements is not beneficial and can also cause problems. This research shows that we have to be careful not to raise our vitamin D levels too dramatically with supplements, because we go beyond the optimal mid-zone and end up causing new, unexpected problems at the cellular level, or in extreme cases, toxicity. As with any hormone, vitamin D levels must be finely tuned to help the body function properly and this only comes from exposure to the correct spectrum of sunlight. 

To make matters more complicated, that coveted spot in the middle that helps fight disease and prevent disease varies from person to person. Our bodies have evolved to regulate, manufacture and distribute the unique amount of vitamin D an individual needs. This makes it nearly impossible to determine and maintain an optimal level for an individual through oral supplementation. The only way to truly optimize vitamin D for optimal systemic health is to allow the body to do what it does best: self-regulation of production and delivery through exposure to the skin. 

Benefits of sunlight 

When human skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces many hormones and peptides that contribute to overall health and wellness. Substances made from chemical reactions with sunlight are called photovoltaic products. While vitamin D is the most universally recognized health benefit that humans receive from exposure to sunlight, it is just one of many important photosynthesis products. 

In addition to vitamin D3, other healthy photovoltaic products made in the same UV wavelength range include: peptide-binding gene calcitonin, neuropeptide substance P, adrenocorticotropic hormone, melanocyte stimulating hormone, calcitriol, and beta-endorphins.

These photodynamic products have a broad spectrum effect on the body and are involved in regulating the immune system, promoting healthy blood flow, reducing inflammation, acting as natural pain relievers, and more. All of these substances contribute to the feeling of relaxation and happiness that we experience when we are regularly exposed to the sun. 

Should I take vitamin D pills?

Before resorting to vitamin D supplementation to support health, consider the differences between vitamin D pills versus sunlight. The association between elevated blood levels of vitamin D and disease prevention in epidemiological research actually measures exposure to sunlight rather than supplemental vitamin D, and population studies have repeatedly demonstrated that exposure to sunlight contributes more to vitamin D concentration than oral consumption. ] Therefore, at a population level, vitamin D is actually a measure of sunlight exposure, and higher serum concentrations are an indicator of increased skin contact with sunlight. 

Assuming that the level of vitamin D in the body from an oral dietary supplement represents the same health benefits as light-derived vitamin D does not take into account the effect of sunlight on human health outside of vitamin D production. It is important to keep in mind that there are other bio-photonic products that contribute to the health of our system in addition to Vitamin D. 

Can You Get Too Much Vitamin D?

If you can get a lot of vitamin D, it all depends on the source of the vitamin D: sunlight versus supplements. You cannot overdose on Vitamin D3 which is stimulated by light and produced in your skin. If you have enough vitamin D, your body will produce less. Using light to make vitamin D allows your body to self-regulate production and make what it needs to stay healthy, without the risk of overdose or toxicity. Oral supplements, whether vitamin D tablets, liquids, or sprays, present risks of vitamin D toxicity and potentially serious symptoms. 

What Happens When You Take Too Much Vitamin D Supplements?

Before taking a swallowable vitamin D supplement, it is important to ask, “How much vitamin D should I take?” Treatment guidelines for vitamin D deficiency vary widely between different medical authorities. The dietary allowance recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is 600 international units (IU) per day. Many vitamin D researchers disagree with this recommendation and say the IOM recommended allowance is not enough to prevent deficiency or support bone health. In general, 4,000 IU or less per day is considered safe, as long as your blood values ​​are monitored.

It is necessary to avoid excessive doses of vitamin D orally, if the intake of vitamin D is too high, it may cause vitamin D toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis D. . Vitamin D toxicity is somewhat rare but has been noted as a side effect of vitamin D pills in high doses if taken for long periods of time. 

Symptoms of Excessive Vitamin D Supplements

When taking oral vitamin D supplements, it is important to know and be able to recognize the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. What happens when you take too much vitamin D can vary from person to person. Side effects of taking too much vitamin D can include diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain. Digestive distress, extreme thirst, or frequent urination may be signs of taking too much vitamin D.

If you experience any of these side effects when taking oral vitamin D tablets, tablets, sprays or liquids, you should contact your doctor as these could be signs of high calcium levels and vitamin D toxicity.  

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