The Benefits of Liquid Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a prevalent disorder amongst adults worldwide, with about 1 billion people diagnosed. Low vitamin d levels can result from limited sun exposure, inadequate dietary intake, cancer, chronic kidney and liver disease, recent surgery, and disorders that affect fat absorption in the body, such as celiac disease and Crohn's disease. Vitamin D is crucial for promoting calcium absorption, making it necessary for bone growth, bone remodeling, and overall bone health. Research also suggests that long-term vitamin D supplementation is proven to increase cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, improve blood pressure levels, promote weight loss, and even decrease the risk of certain cancers.
A doctor can perform a blood test to determine whether or not you have low vitamin D levels and the cause of it. They can then advise on the right dose depending on a person’s age and health status. Some may prefer vitamin D in liquid form over vitamin D supplements because it allows people to tailor the dosage to their needs.
Who can benefit from liquid Vitamin D?
Liquid vitamins are available over the counter, along with tablets and capsules. As far as potency and effectiveness, there is no significant difference among these dosage forms. However, the liquid vitamin may absorb quicker since it bypasses the intermediate step where the tablets have to be disintegrated by stomach acid before absorption. Remember that liquid vitamin D can be slightly pricier than the supplement, but if one of the below factors applies to you, liquid vitamin D may be the answer.
- Difficulty swallowing – adults or elderly who have swallowing impairments. Liquid vitamin D can be mixed with drinks or applesauce. It is also beneficial for small children who cannot swallow pills yet.
- Babies – liquid vitamin D comes in with syringes that make it easier for moms to measure and administer.
- History of gastric bypass surgery – as mentioned above, the liquid vitamin does not require stomach acidity to be broken down.
- Preference to limit the number of pills – patients who have multiple chronic illnesses or organ transplant patients who already take a handful of tablets numerous times daily. Liquid vitamin D may be a good alternative. Just a few drops mixed in with water can alleviate their pill burden.
How much vitamin D should I take?
It is essential to know that vitamin D's daily requirement varies from person to person, depending on age, skin complexion, and other underlying medication conditions. Two commonly available forms of vitamin D are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D3 is usually recommended due to its effectiveness in raising blood vitamin D levels. Research suggests the following amounts of vitamin D:
- For vitamin D deficiency prevention, 800 IU (international units) daily is the recommended dose for adults less than 65 who do not have year-round adequate sun exposure2.
- Adults 65 years of age or older may consume 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D daily to reduce the risks of falls and fractures.
- For vitamin D deficiency treatment, an 8-week duration of vitamin D3 6,000 IU daily or 50,000 IU weekly are recommended. A higher daily dose of 10,000 IU may be beneficial in high risks adults.
- All infants and children are advised to take 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
Can too much vitamin D be harmful?
Taking too much vitamin D (known as vitamin D toxicity) can also be dangerous. Signs of extremely high vitamin D levels include:
- High blood levels
- Elevated blood calcium levels
- Poor appetite
- Bone loss
- Kidney failure
If you’ve been taking vitamin d supplements and are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
What are the long-term effects of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to severe complications such as an increased risk of rickets (softening bones in children) and osteomalacia (softening of bones in adults). However, these disorders have become rarer due to the availability of vitamin D-fortified food and dairy products. More common is osteoporosis or osteopenia; osteopenia is considered a midway point to osteoporosis. It occurs when bone density is lower than normal but not as severe as osteoporosis. Treating it may slow the progression of bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
These conditions may lead to falls and fractures that can create complications, low quality of life, and slow recovery, especially in the elderly population.
For some people, a vitamin D supplement may be necessary. Others may only need supplements when the amount of sun exposure is inadequate such as during the winter months, in which case the liquid form may be preferable so the dosage can be adjusted accordingly with the change of seasons. What’s most important is ensuring you’re getting enough vitamin D for a healthy immune system and strong bones.
 Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The "sunshine" vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012 Apr;3(2):118-26.