Why is vitamin D so important?
Vitamin D is produced by the body upon exposure to sunlight. Being an infamously cloudy country, vitamin D deficiency is common in the UK and other northern countries with similar climates.
In an unprecedented move, the UK Department of Health now recommends that everybody take a vitamin D supplement, especially during the autumn and winter, to help maintain the normal health of their bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D also has other key functions in the body, such as helping to maintain normal immune system function.
How important is testing to ensure quality, specifically as it relates to vitamin D?
With so many important functions in the body, consumers should of course ensure that they are buying high quality and effective products.
All reputable brands that can be bought on the UK highstreet should follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards of quality control to ensure that their supplements provide good quality vitamin D and provide an accurate amount as per the label claim.
More care may be needed when buying supplements online, especially if you don’t recognise the brand or they don’t originate from the EU, since some overseas suppliers may have less stringent policies in place to ensure safety and quality.
Some supplements contain cellulose and other fillers. Do these extra ingredients affect how D is processed in the body?
Vitamin D is needed by the body only in tiny microgram amounts, which is barely a speck in its pure form, far smaller than a grain of rice and too small to even pick up.
Therefore, all vitamin D supplements regardless of their format must be formulated with other ingredients to increase the volume of the product, so customers are able to measure a safe and accurate dose. For tablets the ‘filler’ may be cellulose, which is plant-based fibre.
For liquids or sprays, the ‘filler’ may be water. Vitamin supplements from reputable companies are formulated to ensure bioavailability of the active ingredients.
Are there additional ingredients that consumers should avoid?
Vitamin D is available on its own in supplements such as Wellbaby Vit D Drops and Ultra Vitamin D, or formulated together with other essential vitamins and minerals in a typical multivitamin supplement.
Consumers should choose a supplement appropriate to their needs, remembering to read the label to confirm the other ingredients present. Before using any food supplement, consumers should also seek professional advice if pregnant, breastfeeding or under medical supervision.
What are the attributes a shopper should consider when buying vitamin D supplements?
Vitamin D supplements generally provide either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Vitabiotics recommends that consumers only buy supplements that contain vitaminD3, also known as cholecalciferol, because this is the preferred form of vitamin D that is made naturally by the human body upon exposure to sunlight and is more effective than the vitamin D2 found in some supplements.
Produced from material original authored by Jamie Shuck from Vitabiotics.
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