Vitamin D3 is embraced globally. But do you need it?

The world is in the grip of vitamin D3. Doctors, patients and the health media have strongly embraced it as a supplement. Over the years this has led to an over-response in the use of Vitamin D3: sometimes taking the form of fairytale claims, and, now and then, of exorbitant dosages.

Honesty about Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is a valuable supplement, but we still do not know very much about it. In a previous blog on vitamin D3, we described the myopia that often occurs with this type of trends as well as the thought that if something is good, then more should prove better. As a specialist in nutritional supplements, we consider it our duty not to go along with fads and to provide honest and comprehensive information. Vitamin D3 supplementation in wintertime seems even to influence the way we cope with cold. (Read more in our previous blog vitamin D3).

Everybody is different

Biochemical individuality is a given. Your genetic makeup determines, among other things, how much vitamin D3 you need. In addition, we have all the external factors that influence your hereditary gene function. In sum, one person simply requires more than the average other.

A potential problem with supplements is their 'unnatural' biological dynamics. The vast majority of vitamin D3 must be naturally created in the body by exposure to sunlight. A slow conversion takes place in the skin resulting in gradually increasing concentrations in the blood. When taking a vitamin D3 supplement the scenario is entirely different: a sudden spike leads to a wholly different metabolic response.

Moreover, Vitamin D3 from the sun is sulfated, unlike vitamin D3 supplements. Never equate the health effects of the sun, which extend beyond vitamin D3, with simply taking a supplement.

We do not want to discourage you from taking vitamin D3, nor to stop prescription D3 usage, nor finally to confuse you with information. We do feel it is important that you know whether vitamin D3 supplements are actually needed prior to taking them. Therefore, it is recommended always to test the 25-OH-vitamin D concentration in the blood, or to make use of the home tests discussed below.

Compression test to determine the vitamin D3 status

The compression test is used clinically to determine vitamin D3 status. The implementation is quite simple: press with the thumb on the center of your sternum. Use a minimum pressure of about 4 kilograms (this is somewhat difficult to determine) and assess whether it is painful or sensitive. Do the same on the fronts of both shins. Is this too painful or sensitive? If so, then there is a very high probability that there is a D3 shortage in your blood.

Dr. Raimund von Helden’s D3 questionnaire

German physician Dr. Raimund von Helden developed two questionnaires meant to provide insight into the vitamin D3 status of your body. Take the online vitamin D3 test here:

25-OH-vitamin D blood level test

If you have ever ordered a 25-OH vitamin D level test or if you are thinking about ordering one, and you want to know the appropriate dosage to achieve a desired concentration of vitamin D3 in the blood, then the following online calculator will come in handy:

Be careful when using this calculation. The calculation algorithm does not account for exposure to sunlight. If in springtime and summertime you regularly go outside and expose your bare skin for at least 20 minutes per day to direct sunlight, then a lower dose, or no supplementation, would be the appropriate recommendation.

Sunlight is everyone's first choice

Ultimately, health is the result of responsible habits repeated every day. In the case of vitamin D3 the key is exposure to sunlight. A natural solution such as this is superior to the taking of a dietary supplement. This is not always attainable. If you choose for vitamin D3 supplementation, choose wisely. First establish your vitamin D3 status and use personalized and rational doses. Your personal context should weigh in decisively.