Vitamin D is often associated with strong bones. The major biological function of Vitamin D is to keep the serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations within the normal range which maintains essential cellular functions and promotes mineralization of the skeleton. But more is not necessarily better. Research has found that those who take large amounts of vitamin D not only did not see any benefits in regards of bone density, but actually ended up with worse bone density in the long run.
It has been found that high doses of vitamin D do not provide additional benefits for bone health. There are are a few instances where doctor’s believe higher doses of vitamin D are beneficial with those that have conditions that prevent the body from absorbing nutrients properly: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. But increasing vitamin D in hopes your bones will be stronger, is not recommended for most people.
There are simple tactics you should follow to maintain your bone health. It is safe and sensible to take small amounts of vitamin D, like 1,000 International Units (IU), if you believe that you are not getting enough of this vitamin naturally. Get tested to see if you have sufficient vitamin D. Supplements are best for those who consume a small amount of vitamin D in their diet but it is recommended that you get vitamin D through diet and sun exposure rather then supplements, when possible. Some good sources of vitamin D are cheese, milk, yogurt, fatty fish like tuna or salmon, and cereals. People that don’t spend a lot of time outdoors should also consider taking small doses of vitamin D supplement. This vitamin is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” as it is produced by your body after exposure to the sun. As you get older, your body produces less and less vitamin D. People that are over the age of 65 make about 25% of the vitamin D they did in their twenties. Doses of vitamin D 4,000 IU or higher should only be taken under the advice of your primary care physician. In rare cases, a high dosage can actually be toxic. It can even lead to hypercalcemia, which is a condition that causes high amounts of calcium build up in the blood. This condition could cause a formation of deposits in soft tissues or arteries. It could also cause a predisposition to kidney stones, which are pebble like masses, created when high levels of minerals in your urine begin to crystallize in the kidneys. Again, the preferable method of getting your vitamins and minerals is through your diet. You can check food labels on the back of packaged foods to see the amount of vitamin D they contain.