Unfortunately, the two conventional ways of obtaining vitamin D are no longer sufficient enough for our bodies today. Vitamin D deficiency is widespread throughout the world. It has been diagnosed for nearly 50% of the population of our planet. In Latvia, the statistics are even more dramatic with studies showing that more than 80% of Latvia’s inhabitants are deficient in vitamin D. Research also shows that insufficient levels and deficiency of vitamin D affect people on Latvia regardless of their age, gender or even the season – during the winter when we lack sufficient amounts of sunshine, our vitamin D levels become catastrophically low (15.1 ng/ml). In turn, in summer when we get more sun and ought to be producing plenty of vitamin D in our skin, its levels for most people in Latvia remain below the recommended threshold.
Until recently, the main consequences of inadequate vitamin D levels were thought to be rickets and osteoporosis. However, due to the fact that vitamin D receptors are found in nearly every cell in our body, studies have now proven the strong effect of this vitamin on various processes in the human body. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with the development of a broad range of pathological processes – chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, malignant tumors etc.
Most vitamin D supplements available at pharmacies are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is obtained from yeast or plants. Most doctors do not recommend D2, as the human body is not accustomed to it. Vitamin D3 has been recognised as being identical to the vitamin D found naturally in our bodies. This is the form of the vitamin that our bodies synthesise under the influence of the sun.
The vitamin D3 included in dietary supplements can be obtained in two ways – from fish or from lanolin. Lanolin is a waxy substance secreted by glands in the skin of sheep. The main function of lanolin is to protect the skin from various external environmental factors. Lanolin is obtained from sheep fleece by pressing it until the yellowish, waxy substance oozes out. After lengthy processing the obtained wax yields vitamin D3. It must be noted that sheep are not harmed in the process of obtaining lanolin, because only the sheered wool is used.
Due to the dramatic situation, health care specialists in Germany and the Netherlands have recently issued recommendations for children and adults to ingest 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. Australian health organisations have prescribed a daily norm of 600 IU for people who get some sun exposure (up to the age of 70) and 800 IU for people over 70. However, for people who are not regularly exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the daily dose is set at 1000 – 2000 IU. People, whose vitamin D3 levels are approaching the deficit threshold, are recommended to take 3000 – 5000 IU daily for a period of 6 – 12 weeks, later continuing supplementing 1000 – 2000 IU daily.
The official recommended daily dose of vitamin D3 in Latvia is 10 µg or 400 IU. However, doctors in Latvia have the following opinions regarding the necessary daily dose of vitamin D3: The average adult needs a daily dose of 5000 – 10 000 IU in order to reach optimal vitamin D levels. Medicinal doses of vitamin D are, on average, 70 – 80 IU per kilogram, i.e. a patient weighing 70 kg would need an average of 5000 IU per day. The dosage may be higher if vitamin D levels are severely depleted (e.g. less than 20 ng/ml). Having attained optimal vitamin D levels (tests should be repeated at no less than 3-month intervals), it is recommended to continue taking vitamin D in prophylactic doses – an average of 800 – 2000 IU per day for adults. Failing to do so could lead to losing the hard-earned optimal vitamin D levels and the beneficial effects thereof over the next few months. Source: http://kauluveseliba.lv/lv/d-vitamins-cik-profilaksei-cik-arstesanai
In order to identify vitamin D levels, laboratory blood tests measure the level of the 25(OH) form of vitamin D. This indicator shows the total amount of vitamin D in the body. In 25(OH)vitamin D lab tests, a sufficient level is above 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Vitamin D levels below 19 ng/ml constitute a vitamin D deficiency.