Vitamin D


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin as well as a hormone. It was first identified in the 1920s after a search to find the cause and cure for rickets. It is obtained through food sources as well as manufactured through the skin from sunlight. There are also three forms of vitamin D; vitamin D1 (calciferol), vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). These forms of vitamin D are converted in the liver and kidneys to the hormone calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D.


Bones and teeth: The most important role of vitamin D is to maintain the blood calcium levels within an acceptable range. Vitamin D stimulates intestinal calcium absorption and re-absorption within the kidneys, and regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus which are vital for many body functions including the normal growth and development of our teeth and bones. It allows bones and teeth to harden by increasing the deposition of calcium into these structures.

Cell growth: Vitamin D is involved in normal cell growth and maturation. Some studies have suggested that Vitamin D also play a role in the preventing cancer. It has been shown to have anticancer properties by inhibiting the growth of human leukemia, colon cancer, and skin and breast cancer cells.

Immune system: Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of the immune system, it has several functions including effects on white blood cells called monocytes and lymphocytes and seems to suppress function of several parts of the immune system.

Hormones: Vitamin D plays a role in the secretion of insulin by the pancreas, thus aiding in the regulation of blood sugar. It suppresses both the action of the parathyroid gland and the action of a hormone from this gland and it may be a part of the treatment to help an overactive parathyroid.

Nervous system: The careful regulation of calcium levels is important for normal nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Vitamin D plays a role in the functioning of healthy nerves and muscles by regulating the level of calcium within the blood. In multiple studies, vitamin D has been linked to preventing multiple sclerosis (MS). In fact, in places closer to the equator MS is essentially nonexistent and as you move away from the equator MS becomes more and more prevalent. Scientists believe this occurs because of the lack of sun exposure during the winter and fall months.

Forms Available

Ergocalciferol (D2), Cholecalciferol (D3)

Recommended Intake


·         Up to 6 months old: 400 International Units (IU)

Children and Teens

·         1 to 18 years old: 600 IU


·         19 to 70 years old: 600 IU

·         71 years old and older: 800 IU


·         Pregnant and lactating: 600 IU


Rickets/ Osteomalacia: Severe deficiencies of vitamin D lead to increased production of parathyroid hormone and the removal of calcium from bones. In children this results in rickets, a disorder where the bones are so soft they begin to bend from the weight of the body on them. The adult equivalent is called osteomalacia, which involves the softening of bones and caused bone pain, tenderness and muscle weakness. Some other common signs of this deficiency include severe tooth decay and hearing loss, which is due from a softening of the bones within the inner ear.

Osteoporosis: Vitamin D regulates bone mineral density, deficiencies could lead to osteoporosis, a disease where bones become lighter, less dense, and more prone to fractures or breaking.

Arthritis: Two forms of arthritis are thought to be linked with vitamin D deficiencies: osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that many of those diagnosed with either form of arthritis have shown low blood levels of vitamin D.

Cancer: Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to several cancers including those of the colon, prostate and breast. Studies have shown that the prevalence of cancer is higher in parts of the world with higher latitudes like the Northern United States and Europe than those with lower latitudes and are closer to the equator. This occurs because during the winter and fall months the higher latitudes are unable to take in enough vitamin D from the sun.

Sources in the Diet

Fish and dairy are our main sources of vitamin D aside from the sun. Some examples are salmon, canned tuna, whole milk, oysters, mackerel, sardines, skim milk, shrimp, and natural raisin bran.

Recent Studies and Articles

Vitamin D and high blood pressure

Vitamin D and immune benefits

Challenges Presented

Physical Characteristics: Oil or spray dried powder, white powder

Formulation Notes: Where used is regulated. Stability can be overcome with moderate overages. Unstable in light, oxygen, high pH.

Watson Products

D3 100,000 IU/GRAM , 55LB (25KG) CARTON
D3 1,000,000 IU/GRAM, 25LB CARTON
D3 100,000 IU/G NON CHINESE, 55 LB CTN


  1. [] – Reavley N. The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs. New York, NY: M. Evans and Company, Inc.; 1998.
  2. [] – Nelms, M. Sucher, K. Lacey, K. Roth, S. Nutrition Therapy & Pathophysiology. 2 ed. New York, NY: Cengage Learning; 2011.
  3. [] – Boyle, Marie A. and Anderson Sara L. Personal Nutrition. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning; 2007.
  4. [] – Dole Nutrition Institute. The Dole Nutrition Handbook. Printed in the United States of America; Rodale Inc. 2010.
  5. [] – Vitamin D and Health. Harvard School of Public Health website. 2015. Accessed June 2015.
  6. [] – Higdon, J. Vitamin D. Micronutrient Information Center of Oregon State University website. Last updated November 2014. Accessed June 2015.
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