Cholecalciferol facts and food sources


Vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol) is the form synthesized from cholesterol in sun-exposed skin. For healthy children and adults, exposing the hands, face, and arms on a clear summer day for 10–15 minutes several times each week provides adequate vitamin D. Cholecalciferol is the natural form of the vitamin found in animal products such as eggs, fish, and liver. However, Cholecalciferol is the preferred form for humans as its bioavailability is twice that of vitamin D2. Cholecalciferol is made in skin consecutive exposure to UVB light. It is converted to calcifediol in the liver and then converted to calcitriol in the kidney. It promotes the calcium uptake by intestines.

It is also available in form of dietary supplements for preventing Vitamin D deficiency and associated ailments such as rickets. Also it is used for familial hypophosphatemia, hypoparathyroidism which causes low blood calcium and Fanconi syndrome. In 1936, cholecalciferol was first defined. Cholecalciferol is the most effective as well as safe medicine on World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

Food Sources

Food name Weight (g) Cholecalciferol (µg)
Margarine 232 40.6
Halibut fish 85 23.3
Carp fish 85 21
Mackerel Fish 80 20.2
Eel Fish 85 19.8
Sockeye salmon 85 18.3
Whitefish 136 17.4
Swordfish 85 14.1
Rainbow trout 71 13.5
Sturgeon 85 11
Sea bass fish 129 7.2
Egg 85 7.1
Rockfish 149 6.9
Halibut fish 85 4.9
Tuna, fish 85 4.8
Flatfish 127 4.4
Sardine fish 89  4.3
Herring Fish  140 3.9
Cisco Fish  28.35 3.8
Kielbasa 370 3.3

Health Benefits of Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

  1. Promote cognition

Studies have shown that cholecalciferol is effective in lowering the chances of Alzheimer’s disease by enhancing cognitive function. Deficiency of Vitamin D is related with neurodegenerative diseases due to which its supplementation is common in aging people.

  1. Strengthen immunity

Vitamin D acts as a powerful modulator of immune system and prevents the chances of infections caused by various pathogens. It also assists body to avoid attacking itself.

  1. Prevention of autoimmune diseases

The deficiency of Vitamin D is directly associated with autoimmune diseases. Its supplement is effective in preventing this disease.

  1. Assist weight loss

Recent research discovered that deficiency of Vitamin D is associated to obesity. It relates to effect on metabolism which Vitamin D provides by optimizing immune system and also enhancing metabolism.

  1. Stronger bones

Intake of sufficient Vitamin D3 offers strong bones as it regulates and also controls the ability of the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus which provides strength as well as density to the teeth and skeletal system.

  1. Manage insulin

Vitamin D3 vitalizes pancreas and triggers the process of making insulin. It manages levels of blood sugar more effectively and assists diabetics to control disease.

  1. Blood pressure management

Study concluded that people with high blood pressure experienced drop in number with an increment in Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 lowers concentration of renin, which is an enzyme secreted by kidney which affects blood vessels.

  1. Prevent cancer

Evidence shows that increase in intake of Vitamin D3 helps to lower progression of prostate tumors. Other reports show that combining nutrient with more fiber lowers the chances of polyps development which could result in colon cancer. Study conducted on 166 women undergoing treatment about 70 percent has low vitamin D levels which led to theorize that there could be link.

  1. Healthy heart

Vitamin D has positive impact on heart health. Two studies show that low levels of Vitamin D are associated to increase in chances of heart attack. Some research showed that Vitamin D acts as heart tranquilizer promoting cardiovascular endurance and managing muscle cells from growing too large. This prevents thickening of walls of ventricles that blocks blood flow or causes heart attack.

  1. Promote mood

Vitamin D3 has significant impact on mood. People go through seasonal affective disorder and feel happier when sun is shining due to the synthesis of vitamin which occurs with direct exposure to UVB rays. Promoting the intake of Vitamin D levels could effectively lower the symptoms of clinical depression. Other treatments may be required but ensuring proper absorption of vitamin is demanding.

Recommended Dosage

  • While using in supplements, it should not exceed more than 2000 IU per day and dosage should range between 400 and 1200 IU per day.
  • For children, NHS has advised to limit within 8.5 to 10 mcg of Vitamin D a day. From 1 year of age, it could be increased to 10 mcg per day for children.
  • It is not recommended to use supplements of Vitamin D3 for long term as it could lead to adverse side effects.

Vitamin D3 Side Effects

Too much consumption of this vitamin could result to following side effects:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Reduction in bone mineral density
  • Kidney failure
  • Elevated blood levels of calcium and potassium

When used in moderation, Vitamin D3 supplement rarely shows side effects.


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