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If you are concerned about the health of your bones, you have probably heard about vitamin D. This substance is capable of increasing calcium absorption and the mineralisation of bone tissue, preventing secondary fractures associated with osteoporosis. Vitamin D3 is one of the most potent forms of this nutrient.
This vitamin, referred to by some as the “vitamin of the sun”, is much more than just a simple strengthener of our bones. This nutrient protects the heart and the brain, allowing us to live a life full of energy and free from illness. Would you like to know more about this amazing substance? Keep reading!
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our selection: The best vitamin D3 supplements in the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about vitamin D3 supplements
- 3.1 What is vitamin D3?
- 3.2 Why is vitamin D3 considered the most potent form of vitamin D?
- 3.3 How does my body absorb vitamin D3?
- 3.4 What is the role of vitamin D3?
- 3.5 What is the recommended daily intake of vitamin D3?
- 3.6 What problems can be caused by a lack of vitamin D3?
- 3.7 What is the price range of vitamin D3 supplements?
- 4 What are the causes of a vitamin D3 deficiency?
- 4.1 Diminished capacity for the synthesis of vitamin D3
- 4.2 Insufficient ingestion of vitamin D3
- 4.3 Malabsorption of vitamin D3
- 4.4 How can I increase my levels of vitamin D3?
- 4.5 What foods are rich in vitamin D3?
- 4.6 Who should take a vitamin D3 supplement?
- 4.7 What benefits can I expect to see from taking a vitamin D3 supplement?
- 5 How do I take my vitamin D3 supplement?
- 6 Shopping Criteria
- 7 Summary
- There are two types of vitamin D (D2 and D3) which are derived from different sources (vegetable or animal). Vitamin D3, or colecalciferol, is the most potent form of vitamin D.
- Up to 80% of people present with some type of vitamin D3 deficiency. The most common cause is a lack of exposure to sunlight.
- Excessive use of vitamin D3 supplements can cause a buildup of calcium in the arteries.
Our selection: The best vitamin D3 supplements in the Australian market
Our ranking lists the five best vitamin D3 supplements available right now on Amazon. We have evaluated the ingredients, the dose and the manufacturing process of each product. At the same time we have taken into consideration the reviews of consumers of these products to give you this list of the best available vitamin D3 supplements:
- Sports Research Vitamin D with Coconut Oil
- NATURELO Vitamin D3 (whole food, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free)
- Biofinest Vitamin D3
- Blackmores Vitamin D3
- Cenovis Vitamin D3
Sports Research Vitamin D with Coconut Oil
Offers immune support and increases bone health. Made with non-GMO, soy free and gluten free ingredients including coconut oil. It delivers the same biologically active form of Vitamin D that is produced in the body as a result of direct sunlight, without the risk of unprotected UV exposure.
Nothing but rave reviews for this very popular product. Comes in an odourless capsule that is easy to swallow. Users report feeling more energetic and noticing healthier looking skin, nails and hair. If you purchase this product, do not be concerned if the capsules appear to be a little cloudy. This is normal as coconut oil will solidify at room temperature.
NATURELO Vitamin D3 (whole food, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free)
Here we have a top quality product, manufactured in the USA by NATURELO. This product is suitable for anyone with allergies to gluten, vegans and those concerned about GMO ingredients sometimes found in supplements. It is made entirely from plant-based, wild harvested lichen.
NATURELO have a great reputation as manufacturers of quality health products and supplements. The reviews from users of this product are all glowing and it is easy to see why. This product is made without the addition of any bulking agents or fillers, which is important for people who are concerned about knowing exactly what they are putting in their body. It is not easy to find a product made 100% from naturally sourced lichen, and even better when it comes in a small, convenient and easy to swallow capsule.
Biofinest Vitamin D3
Here we have another fabulous product, this time from Biofinest. This FDA registered supplement is made from cold pressed, organic coconut oil and is also free of artificial ingredients, GMO, yeast, sugar, soy, gluten, dairy, antibiotics and preservatives.
Great reviews for this product, with the potent (5000 IU), yet tiny, capsules a favourite with users. Biofest get a big thumbs up for a superior product and great customer service which is available 24/7.
Blackmores Vitamin D3
This product from Blackmores is very popular in Australia, as many buyers prefer to buy locally made supplements. Blackmores is Australia’s most trusted vitamin and supplement brand, with all their products subject to rigorous testing to ensure a quality supplement that works.
Great quality, good customer service and Blackmores’ strong reputation, built-up over the last century, are the reasons why buyers choose this item. Nothing but positive reviews from users, who notice quickly feeling more energetic after adding this supplement to their regime.
Cenovis Vitamin D3
Here we have another great product from Australian company Cenovis. This supplement contains no added yeast, gluten, lactose, sugar, artificial colours or flavours, artificial sweeteners, or dairy products.
Great feedback from buyers of this product. The easy to swallow, odourless, white tablet has made this supplement very popular with users.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about vitamin D3 supplements
Vitamin D is a substance that acts like a hormone in the human body. It allows the bone, cardiovascular and nervous systems to function at optimum levels. One of the most potent and effective forms is vitamin D3, also known as colecalciferol.
What is vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 (considered by many experts as a hormone) is a liposoluble substance, which is stored in fatty tissue of the body. Its structure is very similar to that of a cholesterol molecule. In fact, the UV radiation of the sun modifies the structure of cutaneous dehydrocholesterol, synthesising colecalciferol or D3.
It is also possible to find vitamin D3 in animal-based products, especially in fish, eggs and fortified dairy. This dietary intake is essential for maintaining stable levels of vitamin D in people who are not exposed to a sufficient amount of direct sunlight.
Why is vitamin D3 considered the most potent form of vitamin D?
For a long time it was believed that the only difference between these vitamins was their origin. Vitamin D2 is found in plant-based foods, while D3 is sourced from animal-based products. Recent studies have confirmed that colecalciferol is more potent than ergocalciferol, providing a larger quantity of active vitamin D.
|Vitamin D2||Vitamin D3|
|Origin|| Mushrooms, lichen and plants
Fortified foods (mainly milk and cereal)
|Synthesis by the body from exposure to sunlight
Some genetically modified mushrooms and lichen
|Conversion to active vitamin D||Capable of moderately elevating the concentration of active vitamin D||As an oral supplement, doubles the concentration of active vitamin D compared to other forms|
|Existence of vegan supplements||Yes||Uniquely formed from a base of mushrooms or lichen|
|Absorption||High, if the absorption of fat is adequate||High, if the absorption of fat is adequate|
|Toxicity||In high quantities||In high quantities|
In the previous table, you can see how vitamin D3 and D2 are very similar molecules which are equally absorbent and potentially toxic (if they are taken incorrectly). However, the difference between the two molecules lies in their effectiveness, with D3 being the preferred supplement of experts in the field.
How does my body absorb vitamin D3?
All experts agree that the safest and most effective way of obtaining an optimal level of vitamin D3 is from exposure of the skin to direct sunlight. However, people who spend the majority of their time indoors can obtain this substance from their diet, as long as they follow correct medical advice.
What is the role of vitamin D3?
|Bone||Increase of the absorption of calcium on an intestinal level, repairs damaged bones and creates new bone tissue|
|Muscular||Muscular contraction (including cardiac musculature)|
|Cardiovascular||Control of arterial dilatation, control of arterial pressure and control of cardiac functionality|
|Pulmonary||Control of inflammatory mechanisms|
|Renal||Adjusts renal function and controls the levels of phosphorus and calcium|
|Reproductive||Synthesis and regulation of sexual hormones|
|Immune||Strengthens the defensive system, regulates autoimmunity and controls excessive cellular growth (tumours)|
|Nervous||Neural protection and mood control|
|Hormonal||Control of hormonal production (especially insulin) and controls weight and appetite|
Most of the vitamin D3 will be activated with the aim of controlling the absorption of calcium and the amount deposited in body tissue. The remaining colecalciferol will be transformed into calcitriol, becoming an essential molecule for different organic processes, such as those that regulate appetite and mood.
What is the recommended daily intake of vitamin D3?
|Population group||RDI vitamin D3|
|Babies 0-6 months||400 IU or 10 μg|
|Babies 6-12 months||400 IU or 10 μg|
|Children 1-3 years||600 IU or 15 μg|
|Children 4-8 years||600 IU or 15 μg|
|Adolescents 9-18 years||600 IU or 15 μg|
|Adults up to 70 years||600 IU or 15 μg|
|Women over 70 years||800 IU or 20 μg|
|Men over 70 years||800 IU or 20 μg|
Establishing an unit of measure for vitamin D3 is more complicated than for other nutrients, because its true level of functionality will be dictated by the quantity of calcitriol or active vitamin D which is generated by colecalciferol. Experts advise that this molecule should measured in International Units (IU).
The IU of vitamin D3 gives information about the quantity of colecalciferol which will be transformed into a biologically active form. It is also possible to measure the RDI of this molecule in micrograms (μg) or in nanograms (ng). On the internet you can find various calculators capable of converting these units.
What problems can be caused by a lack of vitamin D3?
These issues are caused by a deficit of the mineralisation of bones, which increases the probability of suffering fractures (especially of the hip) and muscle and ligament injuries. Osteoporosis can present in older people, while in younger people a defect in the growth of bones called rickets can appear.
A deficiency of colecalciferol will also affect the mechanisms regulating the growth of cells. This could increase the frequency of the apparition of some types of tumours and autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis. The immune system will also suffer a diminished ability to ward off infections.
The metabolism of the body will also be affected by a vitamin D3 deficiency, diminishing the response to insulin, while elevating the level of blood sugar and causing difficulty controlling weight. Blood pressure control will also suffer, increasing the incidence of high blood pressure.
What is the price range of vitamin D3 supplements?
Some factors can elevate the price of a product. For example, vitamin D3 supplements suitable for vegans use ingredients sourced exclusively for the manufacture of these products (lichen and genetically modified mushrooms). This will make the final cost higher than those made from more easily found, animal-based foods.
What are the causes of a vitamin D3 deficiency?
It is possible to separate the causes of a colecalciferol deficiency into three large groups: a diminished capacity for the synthesis of vitamin D3, an insufficient ingestion of colecalciferol and the malabsorption of this vitamin. In the following paragraphs you will find detailed information about these three causes of hypovitaminosis.
Diminished capacity for the synthesis of vitamin D3
- Lack of exposure to sunlight: People in hospital, those working at night and sedentary people have less exposure to sunlight, which will diminish the production of vitamin D3.
- Lack of solar radiation: People who dress modestly, with most of their body covered up, can be limiting the exposure of their skin to solar rays causing a increase in the risk of a vitamin D3 deficiency. Sunscreen and, somewhat surprisingly, environmental pollution are capable of blocking UV radiation.
- Geographic location and time of the year: Solar radiation is less in the colder months of the year. This diminishes the quantity of vitamin D3 that can be created from exposure to sunlight. This effect is even more pronounced in areas of Northern Europe and North America.
- Heavily pigmented skin: Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour. People with dark skin have a larger amount of melanin in their epidermis, which protects them from sunburn but also diminishes the synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin.
- Advanced age: The capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D3 from exposure to sunlight declines with age. People over the age of 70 have a bigger risk of suffering hypovitaminosis, even if they keep active and are exposed to enough sunlight.
Insufficient ingestion of vitamin D3
- Vegans and vegetarians: Colecalciferol is a molecule which is very hard to find in a diet not containing any animal-based products. Vegans will ingest less vitamin D3 and have a bigger risk of presenting with hypovitaminosis, if they do not get enough exposure to sunlight.
- Inadequate diet: A diet which is heavy in processed foods (sweets, fast food and frozen meals) and low in foods rich in vitamin D3, like fish or dairy, will increase the risk of suffering some type of deficiency.
Malabsorption of vitamin D3
- Malabsorption due to an intestinal, hepatic or pancreatic issues: Certain disorders that affect the systems of absorption and metabolisation of nutrients (as in the case of celiac disease), will increase the difficulty of absorption of vitamin D3 to an acute level.
- Excessive consumption of antibiotics: Pharmaceutical antibiotics can affect absorption through the intestines and destroy beneficial bacteria which are necessary for the digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
A lack of vitamin D3 is becoming more and more prevalent in our day and age. According to some nutritional experts, this is a problem of epidemic proportions, affecting the health of thousands, if not millions of people. Luckily, it is possible to increase our levels of colecalciferol in a safe and sensible way.
How can I increase my levels of vitamin D3?
|Individual||Amount of time spent exposed to direct sunlight to reach the RDI of vitamin D3|
|Young person, wearing winter clothes||40 minutes|
|Old person, wearing winter clothes||2 hours|
|Young person, wearing summer clothes||20 minutes|
|Old person, wearing summer clothes||1 hour|
|Young person, in bathers||10 minutes|
|Old person, in bathers||20 minutes|
The previous table is a very basic approximation and uses calculations for an average person who is thin, has white skin, who lives in a sunny climate and who is exposed to sunlight at midday. Cloudy skies, a larger body mass, dark skin and the use of sunscreen are all factors which will require extra time spent exposed to sunlight.
However, excessive exposure to solar radiation will cause premature ageing of the skin and increase the likelihood of developing a melanoma or skin cancer. This is why many people prefer to avoid UV rays altogether, making it even more necessary to obtain vitamin D3 through their diet.
What foods are rich in vitamin D3?
The following table details the main foods that are rich in vitamin D3 and classifies them according to their concentration of colecalciferol. You can also check the percentage of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D3 which is provided by each of these products. All the details should be used as a guide for an average adult.
|Food||Approximate concentration (IU)||% RDI (for an adult)|
|Cod liver oil (1 tablespoon)||500||80|
|Egg yolk (unit)||45||8|
|Veal livers (75g)||35||6|
|Margarine (1 tablespoon)||30||5|
|Cheddar cheese (100g)||25||4|
The combination of a diet rich in vitamin D3 and adequate exposure to sunlight will produce the best results for increasing reserves of colecalciferol. If these two methods are not sufficient to help you achieve the RDI of this nutrient, it could be a good idea to start using a vitamin D3 supplement.
Who should take a vitamin D3 supplement?
- Adults over the age of 70
- People on a vegan or vegetarian diet
- People with inadequate exposure to direct sunlight (due to age, weight or constitution)
- Older women, especially those at risk of suffering from osteoporosis
- Individuals who are overweight or obese
- People who regularly use antibiotics
- People with illnesses that cause malabsorption (such as Crohn’s disease)
- Individuals who have undergone surgery to aide weight loss (such as bariatric surgery)
- People with hypertension, especially if they have been advised to control it with diet and exercise (without medication)
- People with renal insufficiency
A recent German study made an unexpected finding after supplementing two hundred men with vitamin D3, when they observed a significant increase in the testosterone levels in individuals taking a supplement for one year. Therefore, colecalciferol can also be of benefit to men who want to increase their levels of testosterone.
What benefits can I expect to see from taking a vitamin D3 supplement?
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Decrease in blood pressure with an improvement of cardiac health
- Improvement of the state of teeth and gums
- Improvement of immunity and lower incidence of flu and colds
- Reduced inflammation
- Improvement of autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis
- Increased production of testosterone in men
- Increased insulin sensitivity and better blood sugar control
- Lowered occurrence of certain types of cancer
- Improved weight control
Some fitness enthusiasts use this supplement to gain muscle or to slim down. Although adequate levels of colecalciferol are essential for muscle development and reducing fat, no direct link has been found between taking these supplements and improving physical appearance.
How do I take my vitamin D3 supplement?
Vitamin D3 supplements are easy to use and store. The manufacturer’s instructions contain all the necessary information needed to achieve an adequate supplementation. In the following paragraphs you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions about taking vitamin D3 supplements, which may have come up for you while reading this article:
- Should I take it with or without food? The absorption of vitamin D3 supplements is highly elevated, regardless of whether it is taken with or without food. Being a liposoluble vitamin, its assimilation maybe be slightly enhanced if it is taken with fatty foods (fish, olive oil or dairy).
- At what time should I take it? If the supplement is taken with the biggest meal of the day (lunch or dinner), the fats present in the food will help the absorption. In the long term, this can make colecalciferol supplementation up to 50% more effective.
- What dose should I take? It is advised to use a vitamin D3 supplement with a dose that can reach the RDI of 800-1000 IU. Taking over 3000-4000 IU per day puts you at risk of an overdose and the toxicity associated with an excess of vitamin D3 in the body. This is why we strongly advise to never take more than the RDI.
Is it possible to take too much vitamin D3?
An excess of colecalciferol can cause an increase in calcium deposits. If this mineral builds up in blood cells, they will become rigid and increase the probability of developing hypertension and serious cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction and stroke.
What contraindications do vitamin D3 supplements have?
It is advised that people with a history of thrombosis, stroke or myocardial infarction take be careful with these supplements. Some studies have found data that seems to indicate a possible increase in the incidence of these diseases in certain people. This is most likely due to an increase in arterial calcification.
It is also recommended that people with renal, hepatic or pancreatic metabolic issues (such as diabetics) consult with a health professional before starting supplementation with D3. Pregnant or breastfeeding women will need medical supervision before using colecalciferol.
If you want to benefit from everything that vitamin D3 has to offer, while also protecting yourself from any undesired side effects, it is necessary to be careful when choosing a supplement. The following shopping criteria will help you to choose a product that is safe, effective and economical:
- Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
- Contraindications with other medicines
- Combined with vitamin K2
- How it is taken
- Value for money
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
If you are vegan or vegetarian, it can be very complicated choosing a vitamin D3 supplement that is suitable for you. Most of these products are synthesised from fish oil, which is obviously an animal product. However, there are several types of genetically modified mushrooms and lichen capable of producing vegan colecalciferol.
Carefully check the label of the supplement before making your purchase. Look for the vegan quality seal and make sure it is a plant-based form of vitamin D3.
Although they are extremely rare, some secondary allergic reactions have been reported from taking vitamin D3 supplements. People who are gluten or lactose intolerant, or have less common allergies (such as to fish oil), must be careful when choosing a colecalciferol supplement.
Contraindications with other medicines
Vitamin D3 is a potent and highly effective nutrient. This makes it a substance that is capable of potentially reacting and interacting in various ways with many types of medications. If you are taking any of the following medicines, consult a health professional before beginning with a vitamin D3 supplement:
- Antiepileptics and anticonvulsants
- Treatment for a renal insufficiency
- Antiarrhythmic drugs
- Treatment for hypertension
Combined with vitamin K2
The main detractors of vitamin D3 warn that this nutrient is potentially capable of producing a build up of calcium in the arteries, which over time, can result in the deterioration of blood cells. The predisposes the body to a range of serious life-threatening illnesses, such as myocardial infarction or stroke.
The debate is over whether these effects are due to excessive and prolonged supplementation over a long period of time, or if they can appear after only a short period. If you are worried about this controversy, consider using a vitamin D3 supplement combined with vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 prevents the calcification of the arteries and increases the potency of the beneficial effects of colecalciferol.
How it is taken
Vitamin D3 supplements can be bought in many different forms. This can be as powder, tablet form, in soft capsules or even as a liquid. All the products are absorbed and function in a very similar way. However, some people incorrectly assume products packaged as a spray, or as a liquid with a dropper, are less effective.
In fact products that come in liquid form are the most easy to use. The number of drops of vitamin D3 indicated by the instructions are simply dropped directly on to the tongue. If the product is a spray, it can be sprayed in the mouth or even used on food as a type of dressing.
Value for money
If you are wanting to avoid a big outlay while supplementing your vitamin D3, choose a product that contains a moderate dose. Products that contain very high doses increase the cost of the supplement, without enhancing its beneficial effect, while also increasing the likelihood of the appearance of some type of side effect.
Or else you could choose a colecalciferol product that contains very high doses (greater than 4000 IU) and only take the supplement on alternate days or even once a week. This is a safe and economical way to best take advantage of a vitamin D3 product with an excessively high dose.
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Spotlight on… Vitamin D. Often called “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s normally ingested or produced in the skin after exposure to UV-B rays in sunlight. Sadly, vitamin D deficiency is all-too common. Direct exposure to sunlight is the ideal way to get the vitamin D your body needs. However, this can be challenging during the cooler months. Vitamin D is naturally found in only a few whole foods, such as oily, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, as well as liver and cod liver oil Vitamin D is an essential part of our body’s requirements and assists with general health, bone health, brain health, heart health, lung health, motor function and muscle health. #vitaminD #naturalremedy #nutrition
At the moment vitamin D3 deficiency is a real problem for the majority of the population. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, pollution and widespread use of sunscreen has contributed to the lack of this wonderful nutrient in our bodies. The consequences to our general health and well-being can be dire.
A simple change of habits, while also adding a vitamin D3 supplement to our diet, will help keep our bones, heart and brain in the best possible state of health. Be sure to use this type of supplement prudently and the “vitamin of the sun” will keep osteoporosis at bay. Enjoy an active and healthy life with colecalciferol!!
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