Routine checks of vitamin D levels are not currently recommended. However, your doctor might need to check your levels if you have medical conditions, risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, or are taking certain medications, as already discussed. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches and a history of falls, or bone fractures without significant trauma. Severely low levels of vitamin D can result in a disease called osteomalacia in adults, and rickets in children.
If left untreated, both conditions lead to soft, brittle bones, bone pain, and muscle pain and weakness. Osteoporosis is associated with reduced bone density, which leads to an increased risk of falls and bone fractures. Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor. However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly. The goals of treatment and prevention are the same -- to reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body.
A combination of methods is used to do this, including:. Eating more foods that contain vitamin D. See vitamin D food sources table included in this article. Keep in mind that foods alone usually don't meet the daily recommended levels of vitamin D. Getting some exposure to sunshine -- but not TOO much. Exactly how much sun exposure is needed is not clear.
Five to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week to the face, arms, legs, or back may be all that is needed to absorb a suitable amount of vitamin D. Older patients, those with darker skin color, and those living in northern climates might need more sun exposure especially in early spring and late fall. The use of sunscreen, and standing behind a window, prevents vitamin D from being produced in the skin.
However, know that too much sunshine increases the risk of skin cancer and ages the skin.
Using vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 ergocalciferol and D3 cholecalciferol. Studies have shown that these two forms are equally good for bone health. Work with your doctor to determine if you need to take a vitamin supplement and, if so, how much to take.
It is important to discuss how much vitamin D you are taking with your doctor, especially if you are taking more than what is listed in the chart above. Though higher doses are often safely used, too much vitamin D can build up in the body if used incorrectly. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.
Supplements and Safety
Overwhelmed by the towering shelves of vitamin and mineral supplements in the grocery store? Food first! Supplements May Help While diet is the key to getting the best vitamins and minerals, supplements can help. This approach has been shown to reduce coronary heart disease risk in healthy people and those with heart disease. This should ideally come from fish. As always, consult with a physician first. Scientific evidence does not suggest these can eliminate the need to reduce blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol or stop smoking.
Do not rely only on supplements. AHA Scientific Position We recommend that healthy people get adequate nutrients by eating a variety of foods in moderation, rather than by taking supplements. What about antioxidant vitamins? What about omega-3 fatty acid supplements? Last Reviewed: Feb 1, The company declined to be interviewed and denies any responsibility. Doctors in Hawaii still remember how slow the FDA was to act.
They phoned several times. It would be nice if there was a system that, you know, we could use and get some consistent results. The doctor in the case we have spoken with raises troubling questions. Repeatedly, she says, she and her colleagues tried to contact Medwatch, tried to report and tried to get advice from the FDA as to what to do. And repeatedly, she says, they heard nothing back. What I can tell you is when the documents did come in the FDA, that alerted us to the problem in Hawaii, we were able to remove the product within a month. We had the product removed with effectively about 20 cases.
A year veteran with the Navy, she had hoped to get her year service pin. The makers of OxyElite deny all claims against them. The problem is, is when you look on the back, you find that a number of these vitamins are contained in amounts that are much greater than the recommended daily allowance.
But you need vitamins to live. The question is, do you get enough in food?
AHA Scientific Position
And I think the answer to that question is yes. But now there are studies done showing if you use— take a mega-vitamin, you actually can hurt yourself. You actually can increase your risk of cancer, increase your risk of heart disease. Your stomach is only so big for a reason. This capsule has 1, International Units. Scientific studies have shown that that much Vitamin E can be dangerous. And in a better world, in a regulated world, were Vitamin E a regulated product, it should have a black-box warning on it that says just that. You can take too much in the way of anti-oxidants.
Supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with most supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. There are well over a couple hundred thousand people that have participated in clinical trials. So the conclusions that we have for anti-oxidant vitamins I think are very strong. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get International Units a day. But look at the doses some others are suggesting.
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Show me the evidence. JoAnn Manson is accumulating here.
The Institute of Medicine also recommended avoiding getting above 4, IUs daily because that could be associated with adverse events— calcium in the urine, which can be associated with kidney stones, high blood calcium, calcium in the arteries, vascular calcification, as well as soft tissue calcification. And there are now studies that show a U-shaped curve that those who have high as well as low blood levels of Vitamin D have higher risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as all-cause mortality. The Omega 3s contained in the oil are believed by many to be essential for good health.
This is an FDA-approved product—. Preston Mason is a Harvard University researcher. As the fish get crushed, the oil is exposed to oxygen. See what that smells like. But oxidized oil contains oxidized lipids, one of the building blocks of cells. And if we ingest oxidized lipid, we can trigger these inflammatory changes that can lead to things like cardiovascular disease. The results were consistent with other studies showing high levels of oxidation. And so we went and actually bought 47 products from the New Zealand market and had them tested at multiple labs, and we did not see that same effect.
Supplements: A scorecard - Harvard Health
Two years ago, epidemiologist Dr. And so people who are advised to do that, or are doing it, are wasting their time and their money. The next one, insufficient evidence. It just has to be proven. But we still need the strong clinical trials to validate those hypotheses. Mehmet Oz, Dr.
Joseph Mercola and Dr. Andrew Weil all declined to be interviewed. He believes in the power of nature to heal. I believe in them.