What is Vitamin D
Humans receive vitamin D, or cholecalciferol, from fish and dairy products. Vitamin D production in the human body happens when skin gets exposed to sunlight. However, most vitamin D consumed in America comes from fortified foods. The food industry provides vitamin D supplementation to support a wide range of bodily functions. Choose Brenntag North America as your vitamin D distributor for a custom solution.
Properties and Benefits of Vitamin D
Cholecalciferol, the initial form of vitamin D, is technically a steroid hormone. It has the chemical formula C27H44O and a molecular weight of 384.648 g/mol. This type of vitamin D has the official designation of vitamin D3. The human body does not use it in its original state. Instead, cholecalciferol undergoes two hydroxylations before it becomes active. First, the liver converts cholecalciferol into calcidiol. Then, calcidiol travels to the kidney to turn into calcitriol. After use, the human body stores excess vitamin D in fat tissue. Adults should consume 15 mcg of vitamin D every day. Older adults and people with dark skin may need more vitamin D supplementation. Consuming more than the tolerable upper intake level of 100 mcg can raise calcium amounts to dangerous levels. Excessive calcium damages the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Vitamin D supports critical bodily functions. It maintains bone and teeth health by regulating calcium levels. This nutrient boosts the immune system and modulates cell development. Research suggests that it can reduce the risk of diabetes and slow the growth of cancer cells. Obtaining enough Vitamin D prevents rickets and osteomalacia, conditions that impair the formation of new bone tissue.
Vitamin D uses in various industries
Food producers add vitamin D to a variety of foods. Vitamin D fortification allows them to comply with regulations and offer a more nutritious product. The Canadian and American food industries must add vitamin D to certain products. Canada mandates that specific dairy products include it. While the United States does not require fortification for most foods, infant formula must contain vitamin D. Most of the United States milk supply contains added vitamin D as a result of previous efforts to combat a rickets epidemic.
Nutraceutical companies sell vitamin D as a standalone supplement or multivitamin. These products can contain vitamin D3 or vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamins D2 and D3 have few differences in chemical structure. The human body processes these vitamins in almost identical ways. Most vitamin D supplements on the market contain vitamin D2. This form of vitamin D offers the same benefits as vitamin D3 at a lower cost of production. In the United States, 37 percent of the population takes a supplement that includes a form of vitamin D.
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