What Is the Use of Vitamin D3 Supplements?


Quick Answer

Individuals use vitamin D supplements in preventing rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Few foods contain vitamin D naturally, but the skin produces it upon exposure to sunlight. The recommended daily allowance is 600 international units for people from age 1 to 70.

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Full Answer

Vitamin D supplements are available in fortified foods, such as milk, and in tablets and capsules. Most supplements contain vitamin D2 or vitamin D3, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. These forms have minor side chain differences, but the body metabolizes them in the same way.

Breastfed babies need 400 international units of supplemental vitamin D daily until they are consuming 1 quart of fortified formula or whole milk. Older adults benefit from vitamin D supplements as their skin loses its ability to create the vitamin naturally. In the United States, more than half the older adults suffering hip fractures have low levels of vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Sufficient amounts of vitamin D are necessary for proper absorption of calcium in the digestive system. These levels ensure the serum concentrations are high enough for normal bone mineralization, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The body requires vitamin D for bone growth and the remodeling of bones. When vitamin D levels are low, the bones become brittle, thin and misshapen.

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