Most vitamin supplements are useless, but there’s more evidence that vitamin D could be the exception – Business Insider


vitamin D tablets
Vitamin
D tablets.


Colin
Dunn/Flickr



When it comes to vitamins and minerals, more is always better,
right?

Not exactly. While it may be enticing to reach for that vitamin-C
packed drink when feeling under the weather, your body can’t
actually process it all
. And a balanced diet typically
carries enough B, C, and E vitamins to keep your body running
smoothly. 

But there is growing evidence that there could be one vitamin
worth getting with the help of supplements: vitamin D.

Though how much of this vitamin the body is actually able to use
is still up
for debate
, it’s difficult to get much vitamin D from food.
Especially if a person is deficient in vitamin D, a supplement
can help get to the recommended daily amount. 

Technically, two different vitamins — D2, which mainly comes from
supplements and food, and D3, which comes from the sun — the
fat-soluble vitamin D works in our bodies to help build up bone
strength. It’s also used by our muscles for movement and by our
immune system to fight infections.

Studies have found that people who consistently took vitamin D
supplements lived longer
, on average, than those who did not
take them. Other studies suggest vitamin D is also helpful in

protecting bone health
.

And now, even more evidence suggests it could help prevent acute
respiratory tract infections, which include things like colds,
the flu and sinus infections. A meta-analysis released
Wednesday
in The BMJ reviewed 25 randomized controlled trials
that looked at whether the risk of contracting one of these
infections decreased among those who took vitamin D supplements.

It found that for those taking supplements either daily or
weekly, the risk of getting at least one acute respiratory tract
infection was reduced. That was especially the case in people who
were deficient in vitamin D. 

“What we found is that those with the lowest vitamin D levels
experienced the greatest benefit from supplementation,” Dr.
Adrian Martineau, study author and a professor of respiratory
infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London,

told NPR
. Their risk of infection decreased by half.

How to get more vitamin D


cedar plank salmon
Shutterstock/Olga
Lyubkina


Exposure to the sun helps us produce vitamin D, but it’s also
found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. There are small amounts
of the vitamin in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks as
well. 

Since vitamin D is not found in too many foods, it’s often added
to milk, breakfast cereal, and orange juice.

There is a debate about whether supplements are the right choice
for everyone, but it does seem that those who are deficient

could stand to benefit from adding a supplement to their existing
diet

The suggested daily dose of vitamin D for most healthy adults is
600 IU (the measurement tool for fat-soluble vitamins), of which
a serving of milk has about 25% of the daily amount. The
National
Institutes of Health recommends
600 IU per day (or 15
mcg).

Just don’t go too far. Vitamin D overuse — anything above that
4,000 IU/day limit, or almost seven times the recommended daily
amount — has been linked
with
symptoms
like vomiting, constipation, weakness, and weight loss, and it’s
almost always because of overused supplements. Luckily, your body
knows how to regulate how much vitamin D it makes, so you won’t
get too high a dose from sitting in the sun.

Most vitamin supplements are useless, but there’s more evidence that vitamin D could be the exception – Business Insider

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