Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Vitamin D3, or otherwise known as Cholecalciferol or calciol, is a form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is structurally similar to a naturally occurring steroid, such as testosterone, cholesterols and cortisol, and it is often called a secosteroid. Vitamin D3 is naturally occurring in some foods but most of the time we get our Vitamin D3 from nutritional supplements or from direct exposure to sunlight.
There are several forms of Vitamin D3, namely cholecalciferol and an inactive form: calcifediol which is often seen in blood when assessing Vitamin D3 status in the body and also calcitriol which is an active form of Vitamin D3.
History and Origin
The history of Vitamin D3 dates back when a researcher by the name of Schenk obtained a crystallized form of Vitamin D3 from the activation of 7-dehysro-cholesterol. This discovery is very important since the Vitamin D group is more of a hormone than a vitamin. Later, forms of Vitamin D3 were discovered as well as the different foods where you can get the best source of this vitamin.
The use of Vitamin D3 in ancient times was basically all about consuming foods that were naturally rich in this vitamin. Fresh fish and seafood that are high in Vitamin D content are the staple diet of our ancestors and when they were able to farm animals for food, eggs and poultry were also eaten which have high Vitamin D content.
Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 are automatically created by our body when we are exposed to sunlight. It has been discovered through modern research that for just 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure every day can enable the body to create 10,000 to 20, 000 IU of Vitamin D3. But if you have inadequate exposure to sunlight, it is therefore important to obtain this essential vitamin in the food that you eat. Vitamin D3 is essential for increasing energy levels and overall health and endurance. It can also be beneficial in increasing immune system health. A normal level of Vitamin D3 is essential for increasing cognitive functioning and also to support a healthy cardiovascular system.
Vitamin D3 is also helpful in increasing bone health and decreasing your risk of developing fractures. This vitamin is also helpful in depression, back pain and for diabetes. It also strengthens the uterus during pregnancy to decrease the incidence of preeclampsia during labor.
Side effects from taking Vitamin D3 are related to toxicity when taken in amounts higher than the recommended daily allowance. Some people may just need several minutes of sun exposure per day to supply them with adequate Vitamin D3 amounts but still some experts believe that taking Vitamin D3 supplements is necessary for reaping the full benefits of this vitamin.
Overdose of this vitamin may lead to nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Sever thirst and dehydration is also an evident symptom of Vitamin D3 overdose. Itchy skin, feeling of fatigue and overall weakness is also a sign of over use of this essential vitamin.
It is therefore necessary to maintain a regular daily dose of 1,000 IU.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan