Vitamin D, also called sun vitamin, is extremely important for the overall health of a person at any age. It is involved in several important processes, such as cell division or mineral metabolism, supports the proper functioning of the immune system and is also important for healthy bones and teeth.
What else does it provide in our body? How much should we take it daily and can staying in the sun really replenish our supplies of this important vitamin?
Vitamin D and its characteristics
Despite the fact that we add the child to vitamins, in fact it is a steroid hormone, the so-called prohormone, which the body produces from cholesterol .
It has two main forms:
Vitamin D2 is a natural form that is derived from plants and is therefore often referred to as a plant vitamin. It does not form in the human body.
Vitamin D3 is found in animal foods, such as egg yolks and fish, and is also produced in the skin when exposed to UV radiation.
The effects of vitamin D in the body: Why is it so important?
The action of vitaminD in the body is complex. It is part of several physiological processes taking place in the body and at the same time affects the functioning of many tissues and organs.
Effect of Vitamin D :
1. Maintaining normal levels of calcium in the blood – prevention of bone diseases
Vitamin D helps to properly absorb calcium in the body. Calcium plays an important role in bone health. Its deficiency can cause various bone diseases, such as osteomalacia, rickets or osteoporosis.
2. Vitamin D as a support for the immune system
VitaminD is also significantly involved in the proper functioning of the immune system , from birth.
In addition, this vitamin is also involved in the production of a large number of substances that eliminate various pollutants in the body, as well as viruses and bacteria.
There is also research that points to a direct link between low levels of vitaminD in the blood and increased morbidity. People who were found to be deficient in this vitamin also had a reduced number of cells in the immune system and were more often not only ill but also tired.
3. Prevention of stroke or cardiovascular disease
VitaminD is also beneficial for the heart. Recent studies have shown the ability of this vitamin to protect the heart from a stroke or heart attack.
In a study of more than 3,000 people, researchers looked at the relationship between food consumption and vitaminD content and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Published results revealed that people whose diets were most rich in vitamin D had a much lower risk of cardiovascular problems. And vice versa. People with the lowest levels of vitaminD consumption had a higher risk.
4. Vitamin D as an aid in cancer
Recently, there has been more and more talk about the effect of vitamin D on the course of cancer.
The ability of vitaminD to reduce the risk of cancer , but also to improve the course of cancer and reduce mortality, is pointed out .
5. Prevention of type 2 diabetes
Vitamin D is able to increase insulin sensitivity , reduce inflammation and support the functions of insulin-producing cells.
The combination of these three aspects can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and at the same time improve the treatment of this disease.
6. Mental health promotion
Vitamin D receptors are also found in brain tissue, which is why this vitamin can also have a beneficial effect on cognitive functions.
Its increased intake is especially important in the elderly, as it can reduce the risk of dementia.
In addition to the effects mentioned above, vitamin D also plays an important role:
- in the process of cell division,
- contributes to the absorption of calcium and magnesium,
- in bone and tooth mineralization,
- proper muscle function.
Vitamin D deficiency and its symptoms: What is the risk of sun vitamin deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a problem that affects up to 60% of the adult population. It can cause various health problems.
Mild deficiency is often accompanied by a weakened immune system and subsequent increased morbidity or impaired body’s ability to fight infections.
Vitamin D deficiency can also result in an exacerbated course of inflammatory diseases associated with the digestive tract , such as Crohn’s disease.
Long-term increased vitamin D deficiency can even cause bone development disorders, which is especially dangerous in children. In adults, bone softening can occur with severe vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Daily Dose – What Are The Recommendations?
The amount of vitamin D you should take daily depends on several factors, such as age, but also latitude, race, or the current season.
Experts recommend taking daily vitaminD in the range of 400-800 IU, which is 10 to 20 micrograms. In people who are not exposed to sunlight, respectively. as a minimum, this dose should be higher.
Who should increase their vitamin D intake?
You should focus on increasing your vitaminD intake if:
You are obese – in obese people, vitaminD is stored more in fat stores and the cells are therefore deficient.
You eat unbalanced – your diet is poor in fats and important nutrients.
You are at an advanced age – vitaminD deficiency in old age can lead to the risk of osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding – Vitamin D is important not only for the health tips of the breastfeeding mother, but also for the baby itself.
How to supplement vitamin D?
You can replenish your vitaminD stores in several ways.
The most natural way is a diet rich in children or a regular stay in the sun. However, various vitaminD supplements are also popular.
The sun as a source of vitamin D
The sun can be a source of vitaminD, but it is important to realize that the amount of sunspot obtained varies from individual to individual.
The season, geographical location, age and skin color come into play here, as well as the clothes and sunscreens used .
In terms of geographical location, people living further from the equator to the north may have less vitaminD as the intensity of sunlight decreases.
With the seasons, it’s easy. You can use the rain in the summer because the sun’s rays are stronger.
Sunscreens, in turn, can reduce the skin’s ability to make vitamin D. It is also known that people with dark skin have more melatonin, which acts as a sun visor and blocks the penetration of rays into the skin.
That’s why it’s not best to rely on the sun as a sufficient source of vitamin D.
Vitamin D in food
VitaminD is found in food in two different (already mentioned) forms, namely D2 and D3.
While vitamin D is added to some foods, such as infant formula , others are prohibited ( fruit foods and foods).
Vitamin D2 is part of the fungi that grow in the sun, but is also added to some foods.
Vitamin D3 is animal and can be found in fatty fish such as cod, mackerel and salmon, shrimp and oysters, beef liver, butter, as well as milk and dairy products.
However, in connection with vitaminD in food, it is also necessary to add that food cannot cover the body’s overall needs for this vitamin – it will provide only about 5 to 10% of the need for intake.
Vitamin D in the form of nutritional supplements
Vitamin D in the form of nutritional supplements offers two variants, namely vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D2 is most often produced from yeast, which is why vegans or vegetarians often reach for it.
Vitamin D3 as an animal form is produced by chemical conversion of cholesterol and irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol from lanolin.
overdose on vitamin D?
Yes, vitaminD can also be overdosed, but it would have to be taken in large amounts on a regular basis – for example, 50 times the recommended amount.
In such situations, there is a risk of toxicity, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, general weakness or nervousness.
Excessive use of vitaminD can also lead to an increase in blood calcium levels and subsequent tissue or vascular calcification with damage to the heart or kidneys .
Vitamin D is important for the body, but it is not necessary to overdo it with it.
If you are not sure if your body needs to replenish your baby’s supplies, contact your doctor, who will find out how you are doing by a simple blood test.