Patients and supplement users always want to know if there are any factors affecting the absorption or effectiveness of the supplements they are using. Thanks to a recent research trial in which one of Preferred Nutrition’s experts participated helped to identify specific factors that make vitamin D supplementation more or less effective. Vitamin D is known to play several important roles in health hence its popularity with Canadians. Research has shown that this essential nutrient helps to maintain healthy bones, prevents insulin resistance, reduces the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, enhances mood, promotes the appropriate functioning of the immune system and reduces the incidence of cancer.
Several findings were reported in this large population trial looking at more than 2700 participants receiving large dosages of vitamin D. Some of the findings were predictable. For example, it was shown that the dose of vitamin D used, the compliance of the patients with the recommended frequency of use and the duration of supplementation were all highly associated with vitamin D blood levels. Other factors affecting the effectiveness of the vitamin D supplements were less obvious. Such factors included age, body weight, physical activity and smoking. Being older, having high levels of physical activity and having vitamin D levels measured during the summer were all associated with higher vitamin D levels. On the other hand, being male, living in a more northern location, being overweight or obese, consuming margarine and reporting being in poor health were all factors associated with lower vitamin D levels. This suggests that patients wanting to optimize their vitamin D levels should consider these factors when deciding on a daily vitamin D dose.
The study also showed that the current recommendations for vitamin D consumption as established by the Institute of Health are clearly inadequate. Indeed, patients surveyed who consumed a daily vitamin D dose similar to that recommended had vitamin D levels that were not significantly higher than individuals not taking any vitamin D supplements.