Vitamin D is known for support of skeletal growth and bone strength. Good sources of vitamin D are liver, beef, veal, eggs, dairy products, and salt-water fish. However, the body does possess the ability to create vitamin D in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol during a photochemical reaction with ultraviolet B radiation from the sun. Vitamin D has the ability to be stored in fats in case of decreased sun exposure. Vitamin D is the primary regulator of calcium homeostasis and is heavily involved in bone mineralization. Vitamin D demonstrates immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant abilities. There are two forms of vitamin D: secosterols ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3). Although vitamin D can be formed in the body, age and other factors can cause deficiencies; it is important to maintain healthy levels for good health.
It is not recommended that vitamin D be combined with digoxin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, or thiazide diuretics due to adverse effects and decreased effectiveness. The use of the following drugs may decrease the absorption and function of vitamin D and may call for supplementation: carbamazepine, cholestryamine, colestipol, corticosteroid, mineral oil, rifampin, and stimulant laxatives. As with any drug or supplement, consult a health care professional before use.
Vitamin D is well tolerated when taken in the recommended doses (typically up to 60 mcg per day). However, when excessive doses are taken, hypercalcemia, azotemia, and anemia may occur. Hypercalcemia symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, weakness, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle and bone pain.
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