UNILAB Launches Forti-D: The latest Vitamin D Supplement

3:54:00 AM

Last March 21, UNILAB held a media launch about their latest product that will help fight Vitamin D deficiency as well as spreading news regarding this topic. 

If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in a few foods -- including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks -- and in fortified dairy and grain products.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn't properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.

In this light, at the said media launch, we got the chance to check if we are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency since I can also attest that I rarely get enough sunlight exposure because of work and I usually stay at home when I don't have work. 

An expert in the field of occupational medicine has revealed that an increasing number of office workers in Metro Manila are becoming vitamin D-deficient because of their lifestyle habits.

In a presentation during the 36th annual national convention of the Philippine College of Occupational Medicine (PCOM) with the theme “Moving Forward to Healthy Workplaces”, Dr. Marilou Renales said that based on a study that has been ongoing since 2013, 3 out of 5 Filipinos tested are vitamin D-deficient.

“The results of a voluntary blood testing performed among 369 randomly selected Metro Manila office workers revealed that 58% were vitamin D-deficient while 30% were shown to have insufficient levels of vitamin D,” Dr. Renales said.

The PCOM director added that vitamin D deficiency is a contributing factor to one’s development of chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Lifestyle habits are culprit
Cases of vitamin D deficiency in the country have risen in the past couple of years owing to the current lifestyle that most Filipinos have. Vitamin D is produced naturally through adequate sun exposure and given that most office workers are not exposed to as much sunlight as they need to be, they face a much pronounced risk of suffering from the condition.

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:

You don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.

Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.

You have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.

You are obese. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

“Apart from staying indoors for most parts of the day, habitually wearing long-sleeved clothing and slacks or pants, using too much sunscreen, and eating barely enough of vitamin D-rich foods, environmental factors are also at play,” Dr. Renales said.

Genetic predisposition
In the same presentation, Dr. Alejandro Diaz of the Philippine Neurological Association also disclosed that typical Filipinos’ naturally tan complexion, given the moderate to high levels of melanin in their skin, is also a factor in vitamin-D deficiency. 

“Melanin, while serving as a protective barrier for the skin against ultraviolet (UV) light, also works to block the sun’s rays, which is needed to activate vitamin D in the body. Studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between melanin levels and vitamin D production, with melanin affecting the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D. Thus the darker the skin, the less vitamin D is produced,” Dr. Diaz said.

Sure solution
As a preventive measure against vitamin D deficiency, doctors have endorsed the daily intake of vitamin D supplements.

Forti-D, the latest vitamin D supplement in the market, is a single-dose supplement that contains 800 IU of vitamin D3. Also known as colecalciferol, vitamin D3 impacts one’s bone structure, blood pressure, hormone production and potential for diseases and cancers.

“Taking one capsule of Forti-D every day helps reduce the risk of getting chronic diseases by unlocking the proper function of organs typically affected by such illnesses,” said Alex Panlilio, Unilab VP for consumer health.

The first of its kind vitamin supplement available for purchase per piece, Forti-D is sold at P6.50 (SRP) in leading drugstores nationwide.

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  1. Where can we buy Foti-D? I live in Cebu and have been looking for vitamin D supplements everywhere. I have tried looking for Forti-D but it is not available in any of the pharmacies/drugstores that I have been to. All of the vitamin D supplements available are in combination with other nutrients. Right now, I take Caltrate Plus.

  2. Hi I am taking multivitamins everyday is advisable to take forti-d with centrum?