The Importance of Vitamin D: Benefits, Safety, How to Consume Enough, and More

The Importance of Vitamin D Article - Woodwell Supplements

 "Vitamin D deficiency has become an increasingly common issue in America. With such a powerful nutrient, a deficiency could lead to many problems down the line. Learn all about Vitamin D here!"

-Article written by Ethan Wood, CPT & Registered Nutritionist


Vitamin D deficiency is a common global issue. About 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency, while 50% of the population has vitamin D insufficiency 1.

You can get vitamin D through sun exposure on your skin, through the food you eat, and through nutritional supplements 1.

So, what exactly is Vitamin D, and what can it do for us?


What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. It helps your body absorb calcium, which is the primary component of bone.

Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity 2.

Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in many foods, but you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. 

Your body also makes vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol) 2.

In your diet, the most commonly-found members are vitamin D2 and D3. While both types help you meet your vitamin D requirements, they differ in a few important ways 3.

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) mainly comes from plant sources and fortified foods. 

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is only found in animal-sourced foods 3.

Research suggests that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 at raising blood levels of vitamin D 3.


What is Vitamin D Good For?

Vitamin D Benefits - Woodwell Supplements

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in the absorption of calcium and the regulation of bone growth3.

Calcium is the primary component of bone, and without sufficient levels of vitamin D, your body cannot absorb it effectively . This means that vitamin D is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones3.

In addition to its role in bone health, vitamin D also plays a role in immune function. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help support immune health by reducing inflammation in the body3.

Vitamin D also has antioxidant properties, which means it can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals3.

Its neuroprotective properties support brain cell activity and may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases3.


Is Sunlight a Good Way to Get Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in your skin when it’s exposed to the sun. This is why getting enough sunlight is very important for maintaining optimal vitamin D levels3.

Midday, especially during summer, is the best time to get sunlight. At noon, the sun is at its highest point, and its UVB rays are most intense. This means you need less time in the sun to make sufficient vitamin D3. 

Many studies also show that the body is most efficient at making vitamin D at noon3.

However, too much sunlight comes with its own health risks. Sunscreen, while important to prevent skin cancer, can also decrease vitamin D production2.

It’s important to note that the sun’s UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows are still prone to vitamin D deficiency3.


What Other Ways Can We Get Vitamin D?

As we've noted, Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and sunlight may not be a sustainable way to increase Vitamin D production. So, what options does that leave us with?



There are a few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. 

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources4. 

Fortified foods like milk provide most of the vitamin D in American diets4. 

Other food sources of Vitamin D include cod liver oil, swordfish, beef liver, egg yolks and sardines5.

It’s important to note that only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough vitamin D5.

If you do not get enough sunlight or Vitamin D from your diet, it’s often recommended to take a supplement like cod liver oil. One tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil contains more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D5.

Let's take a look at some other supplementation methods.



If you do not get enough sunlight or Vitamin D from your diet, it’s often recommended to take a Vitamin D supplement. 

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years2.

Vitamin D supplements can be used to help treat inherited disorders resulting from an inability to absorb or process vitamin D, such as familial hypophosphatemia.

Research suggests that long-term vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis. 

Vitamin D supplements are also used to treat adults with severe vitamin D deficiency, resulting in loss of bone mineral content, bone pain, muscle weakness and soft bones (osteomalacia)2.

It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any supplementation regimen. They can help you determine if you are deficient and what dosage is appropriate for you.


How to Tell if You're Deficient

Vitamin D deficiency can be difficult to notice because symptoms may not occur for several months or years. Sometimes, you may have no symptoms at all.

Some common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include bone pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue3.

One of the most important roles of Vitamin D is supporting immune health, which helps you ward off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low Vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor3.

If your doctor suspects you’re not getting enough Vitamin D, a simple blood test can check the levels of this vitamin in your blood2.

It’s important to consult with your doctor if you suspect you may be deficient.


Possible Health Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D supplementation has been linked to a variety of health benefits.

Higher doses of Vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis, falls, and fractures in older adults. It can also increase physical strength in both upper and lower limbs3.

In addition, Vitamin D may help prevent cancer. One study found that taking 1,100 IU per day, alongside calcium, reduced cancer risk by 60%3.

Vitamin D may also ease symptoms in people with clinical depression3.

Supplementing with Vitamin D may also reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes. One study in infants found that taking 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per day reduced the risk of type 1 diabetes by 78%3.

Some studies even suggest that Vitamin D reduces people’s risk of dying during the study periods, indicating that it may help you live longer3.


How Much Vitamin D to Take

The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D varies depending on age.

For children up to age 12 months, the recommended daily amount is 400 international units (IU)2.

For people ages 1 to 70 years, the recommended daily amount is 600 IU2. 

For people over 70 years, the recommended daily amount is 800 IU2.

It is important not to take too much Vitamin D as it can be harmful. Children age 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and breastfeeding women who take more than 4,000 IU a day of Vitamin D might experience nausea and vomiting, poor appetite and weight loss, constipation, weakness, confusion and disorientation, heart rhythm problems, kidney stones and kidney damage2.

It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any supplementation regimen. They can help you determine if you are deficient and what dosage is appropriate for you.


Grab Some Vitamin D Today!

If you've been convinced that supplementing with Vitamin D would be beneficial for you, make sure to grab Woodwell's Bone & Heart Support Formula today!

This product contains the recommended amount of Vitamin D3, plus K2 and Calcium which help to increase the effectiveness! Learn more with the In-Depth Product Breakdown.


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