What the research says...
A recent study published in the prestigious Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) has reported that there’s been a trend in increasing supplemental intake of vitamin D between 1999 all the way up to 20141. The research points out that there are dangers of supplementing with super high-strength vitamin D (above the safe upper level of 4,000iu) as it puts us at risk of hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) and risks this calcium being deposited where we don’t want it - in soft tissues or our blood vessels where it could inflict damage.
It’s important to note that whilst this study highlights a very important trend, it hints at a correlation between high intake of vitamin D and dangers to health, and hasn’t tested it in the population it examined. At this stage, it’s a concern rather than a scientifically proven fact that consuming an increased amount of vitamin D, let alone 4,000iu, leads to these serious health consequences. Also, what we’ve seen so far doesn’t show what percentage of individuals are taking 4000iu or more, the group that the researchers were particularly concerned about.
What we know about vitamin D
What is clear here is that we know that vitamin D is good for us for a variety of reasons: bone health, mental health, muscle function and more2. Also, we know that vitamin D sources (even the sun) can be hard for people to come by. In fact, our VITL consultation data finds that 73% of people either rarely get any sun, or only when they’re on holiday/weekends, spending the rest of their time working indoors.
As with any vitamin or mineral, it is true that too much of a good thing isn’t actually good for you. It is important that if you suspect you have a deficiency, that you consider getting tested via your GP or a qualified nutritional therapist who could then advise you on what you’d need to take and how much, and also, for how long. If you know that you aren’t feeling a 100%, it would be worth considering if there’s anything in your diet that could be contributing to this, and supplementing with a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting your daily requirements of all of the essential micronutrients.
Vitamin D in our VITL supplements...
We know it can be tough to meet your requirements of vitamin D, as to get to a sufficient level, you’d need to expose your face and arms (i.e. wearing a t-shirt or vest) every day for at least 30 minutes a day, at midday when the sun is at the best angle. This is hard for those who spend a lot of time inside, use sunscreen or during the winter period or even on cloudy days. There are also very few food sources of vitamin D (of which include fatty fish and fortified products), so this is where supplementing vitamin D can be really helpful.
The RDA for vitamin D was 5ug/200iu and now Public Health England has updated their recommendations on vitamin D following a review of the latest evidence last year to 400iu3. However, according to the Vitamin D Council, this isn’t enough4, and there are so many factors that determine how much vitamin D we can make from the exposure to the sun, including our skin tone, age, geographical location, and even air pollution. As a result, they recommend adults have a daily intake of 5000iu per day. VITL Vitamin D contains 1000iu of vitamin D3 per capsule, which is what we have deemed to be the safest as well as the most effective dosage level. When you are able to get some vitamin D from sun exposure and food, VITL Vitamin D helps you make up the shortfall. As VITL Vitamin D is well within the safe upper limit as recommended in the study mentioned above, you are able to double up safely when you are not in the sun all day or eating plenty of food rich in vitamin D3.