Vitamin D is a vitamin that promotes better absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body, while playing a major role in building and maintaining bone health.
In addition to its main roles (calcium and bone homeostasis), vitamin D has other important roles, including the ability to act directly on the body’s immune response.
Our body only produces this vitamin when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but we also take it into the body through food.
The amount of vitamin D your skin produces depends on many factors, including time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation.
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production may be reduced or completely absent during the winter months.
Sunscreen, while important, can also reduce vitamin D production.
Another way to provide sufficient quantities, ie. to compensate for the lack of vitamin D, especially during autumn and winter, is through dietary supplements – supplementation.
Many seniors are not regularly exposed to sunlight and have problems absorbing vitamin D, so taking a multivitamin with vitamin D is likely to help improve bone health.
Learn more about the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, the causes and risk factors, hypervitaminosis D, and the importance of vitamin D for immunity and overall health.
Importance of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that can be produced on the skin after proper exposure to sunlight (according to some researchers, between 5 and 30 minutes twice a week), and is also taken into the body from food.
Foods rich in vitamin D include: fatty fish and fish oil, oysters, shrimp, egg yolks, beef liver, mushrooms and fortified milk.
The main role of vitamin D is to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, which is necessary for the process of preserving bones.
Severe vitamin D deficiency leads to insufficient mineralization of newly formed bones, which results in the development of rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin D:
- For children of 400 international units (IU)
- Adults 600 IU
- Pregnant women 800 IU
- elderly people, over 70 years, 800 IU.
Vitamin D deficiency – cause, consequences and risk factors
Vitamin D deficiency is much more common than previously thought, especially among adolescents, women and the elderly.
Numerous studies have shown that more than 50% of older women (50+) and a similar percentage of women treated for osteoporosis have inadequate vitamin D levels.
Decreased vitamin D levels are present if the total Vitamin D level is ≤ 75 nmol / L
Without vitamin D, your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with osteoporosis and some types of cancer, more common viral infections,
If you are not getting enough vitamin D through sunlight or food, you may need vitamin D supplements.
We know some most common causes of vitamin D deficiency are:
insufficient sun exposure; lack of absorption of vitamin D in the intestines (biliary cirrhosis, short bowel syndrome, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease); liver and kidney diseases that reduce the production of active forms of vitamin D; increased loss of vitamin D (nephrotic syndrome, peritoneal dialysis); some drugs: barbiturates, anticonvulsants.
What factors promote vitamin D deficiency?
Non-exposure to sunlight; Constant use of sunscreen with protective factors; Dark skin (darkening reduces the synthesis of vitamin D) Age Overweight and obesity. Also, chronic patients, as well as newborns of mothers with a deficiency of this vitamin, have an increased risk of developing a deficiency of vitamin D.
Relationship between vitamin D deficiency and certain diseases
Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of:
Rickets, Osteoporosis, Malignant diseases, Viral and bacterial infections, Diabetes, Allergies and asthma