Vitamin D supplement: 8 things every beginner must know

  • By: srtmorar
  • Date: January 6, 2024
  • Time to read: 3 min.


Some people like to maintain optimal vitamin D levels with the help of natural sources and a supplement. But you should know a few things before taking a vitamin D supplement.

Since childhood, we have been told to enjoy time in the sun. After all, exposure to sun is the most natural way to get vitamin D. It is important for our health, as vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis and other problems related to bones. Some people go beyond natural sources and go for a vitamin D supplements. Doctors may mostly support this decision, but there are a few things to know before taking a vitamin D supplement.

A vitamin D deficiency can not only lead to problems like osteoporosis in adults, but so rickets in children. Even though there are many ways to get vitamin D, about a billion people in the world have vitamin D deficiency, which is a global public health issue, as per a research published by StatPearls in 2023.

Vitamin D actually plays a pivotal role in multiple bodily functions. It aids in calcium absorption, is vital for robust bones and teeth. Moreover, it bolsters the immune system, regulates mood, and supports muscle function, says clinical nutritionist Shabana Parveen. Maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may even reduce risks of ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplement is available in various forms. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

What is a vitamin D supplement?

To maintain a healthy level of vitamin D, you need a circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D greater than 30 nanograms per milliliter. Taking a supplement can help to maintain that level. A vitamin D supplement is basically a synthetic form of this essential nutrient. It’s available in various forms like tablets, capsules, or drops. People often use it to augment their vitamin D levels, especially when natural sources, like sunlight exposure, are inadequate.

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What to know before taking a vitamin D supplement?

Supplements can be of great help, but before taking them, you should consider a few things.

1. Consultation with a healthcare professional

Prioritise a consultation with a healthcare provider before initiating any supplement regimen, especially vitamin D, says the expert. Their expertise can guide appropriate dosage and potential interactions with medicines.

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2. Assessment of current vitamin D levels

Blood tests can determine your existing vitamin D levels. This will help to know if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.

3. Underlying health conditions

Certain medical conditions such as diabetes may interact with the vitamin D supplement. So, adjustments or careful monitoring are required.

4. Quality assurance

When you buy a make-up product or a pair of shoes, you probably check the brand. The same goes for your supplements. Opt for reputable brands to ensure supplement purity and potency.

5. Awareness of possible side effects

While rare, excessive vitamin D intake can lead to toxicity, says Parveen. Familiarise yourself with symptoms such as nausea, weakness and vomiting.

6. Combination with other nutrients

Some supplements or nutrients may affect vitamin D absorption. Seek guidance on combinations from a professional to know which combination works best.

Medicines in hand
Know the side effects of vitamin D supplements. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Sunlight exposure

Adequate sunlight exposure aids in natural vitamin D production. So, consider your sun exposure levels while using a supplement.

8. Considerations based on age and lifestyle

Different age groups and lifestyles may require varying vitamin D amounts. Customise supplementation according to your needs.

While obtaining vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight and fatty fish is ideal, supplements are valuable when natural intake is insufficient. You just have to strike a balance between both sources to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.


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