Vitamin D3 is used to prevent osteoporosis, fractures and falls in older adults; alleviate muscle pain caused by statins; and prevent the flu, multiple sclerosis and all types of cancers, according to WebMD. Supplements that contain cholecalciferol are more potent than the vitamin D found in ergocalciferol.
Vitamin D3 helps prevent bone loss and low calcium in patients with kidney failure, states WebMD. It is also used to treat heart conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The supplement offers autoimmune-boosting properties and is helpful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis, obesity, diabetes and tooth and gum disease. While small amounts of vitamin D3 are found in fatty fish and fortified dairy products, cereals and juices, up to 90 percent of the body’s vitamin D3 comes from sunlight exposure.
As of 2015, the recommended daily allowance, or RDA, of vitamin D for individuals age 1 to 70 is 600 international units daily, explains WebMD. Those over 71 years should consume at least 800 international units daily and take up to 1,000 international units per day in combination with 1,200 milligrams of calcium to prevent falls. Pregnant and lactating women need 600 international units of vitamin D per day, while infants up to 12 months of age require 400 international units.