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Is vitamin D good for bones?

Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Karen Janson, M.D. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Vitamin D is frequently referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This description results from your body’s ability to produce vitamin D in the skin when exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from supplements and certain foods, especially those fortified with the vitamin.

You might question how important vitamin D is for your health and what it does to your body. If you suffer from vitamin D deficiency, your bones, immune system, digestive system, and more can decline.

This guide will focus primarily on the impact appropriate vitamin D intake can have on your skeletal system. Keep reading to learn more about this essential vitamin and its crucial role in bone health from childhood through adulthood.

What are the different types of vitamin D?

Although it’s often referred to simply as vitamin D, there are actually two different forms of vitamin D: [1]

  • Vitamin D2 – Vitamin D2, also called ergocalciferol, typically comes from plant sources. Its main natural source is mushrooms. However, ergocalciferol is easier to produce in a lab. This makes it the most commonly found form of vitamin D in fortified foods and supplements.
  • Vitamin D3Vitamin D3 is also referred to as cholecalciferol. It’s typically found in animal products, such as liver, fish oils, fatty fish, and egg yolks. Your skin also produces cholecalciferol when it’s exposed to sunlight.

Both types of vitamin D are metabolized as calcitriol. In your body, calcitriol facilitates calcium absorption.

Which type of vitamin D is good for bone health?

So, is vitamin D good for bones? The answer is a resounding yes. The good news is that there isn’t evidence to support that one type of vitamin D is better than the other for bone health. [2] Both forms are crucial to your body’s ability to properly absorb and use calcium.

Can vitamin D rebuild bones?

Unfortunately, vitamin D doesn’t rebuild bones. [3] However, it can help you maintain strong, healthy bones and bone mineral density, especially as you age. Vitamin D has been shown to:

  • Increase the likelihood that your bones remain strong
  • Help women maintain bone strength after menopause
  • Prevent the onset of bone loss and osteoporosis

While you can’t completely rebuild bones, ensuring your vitamin D level is where it should be can help you keep your bones strong.

What is the relationship between vitamin D and bone density?

Vitamin D is critical for the construction of healthy bones in childhood. Children who grow up deficient in vitamin D can develop rickets. [1] Rickets is a bone disease that occurs when bone tissue fails to grow properly. The bones are often thin, brittle, and prone to breaking.

Strong bones are also critical to healthy aging. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to become weaker over time. It’s the result of your bones losing density and mass. When this happens, your bones become brittle and susceptible to breaking. Even simple movements could result in a painful fracture.

Vitamin D and calcium intake can help your body minimize bone turnover and increase the bones’ mineral density. [4] This leads to the maintenance of stronger bones that are less likely to fracture, even as you age.

How much vitamin D do you need for healthy bones?

How much vitamin D should I take? Your vitamin D needs will likely change throughout your lifetime. Vitamin D is typically measured in international units (IU). The general daily vitamin D recommendations are as follows: [5]

  • Infants should get at least 400 IU per day until they reach one year of age
  • Children and adults up to age 70 need at least 600 IU per day
  • Adults over the age of 70 need at least 800 IU per day

Remember that you don’t always absorb all of the vitamin D you consume. Medication, health conditions, and other factors can interfere with vitamin D usage in your body. You may need to take in more than the daily recommendation to ensure that you absorb the appropriate amount your body and bones need.

However, can you take too much vitamin D? It is possible to get too much vitamin D, which may lead to vitamin D toxicity. Extremely high doses of vitamin D can lead to a host of health problems and could even harm bone health. You should work with a healthcare professional to find the adequate vitamin D consumption and supplementation for your body’s unique needs.

Stay on top of healthy bones and your vitamin D levels with Everlywell

Vitamin D is critical to developing and maintaining healthy bones throughout your lifetime. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your diet or through vitamin D supplementation, you could suffer from poorly developed or weakened bones. Consider regular supplementation with vitamin D gummies from Everlywell.

Since vitamin D is so crucial to your overall health and wellness, you want to ensure your levels are where they should be. That’s where we can help. The Everlywell Vitamin D Test can provide you with insight into where your body stands with respect to vitamin D status. It’s an easy-to-use test that you take in the comfort of your home. Then, send it off to one of our secure labs and await your results—it’s as simple as that.

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  1. Vitamin D Overview. PubMed. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  2. Effect of High Dose Vitamin D2 vs D3 on Total and Free 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. PubMed. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. High Dose Dietary VItamin D Increases Bone Mass and Strength. PubMed. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  4. The Effect of Vitamin D on Bone Density. PubMed. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  5. Vitamin D Fact Sheet. NIH. URL. Accessed August 1, 2022.
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