Vitamin D3, Vitamin D, cholecalciferol, the sunshine vitamin … whatever you call it, this vitamin is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining health and having energy. But where can we get it from, what benefits does it have and how do we avoid having a deficiency of this vitamin?
The case of vitamin D is quite curious: our body can produce it from skin contact with UV rays. In fact, vitamin D is actually a hormone. In addition to moderate sun exposure, several foods can also help us obtain a dose of this vitamin, although it should be noted that by themselves they do not provide the sufficient amount of vitamin D necessary to meet daily needs.
One of the functions of vitamin D is to regulate the metabolism of phosphate and calcium, which are very important for bone health. In addition, it is also part of a wide variety of metabolic processes and helps to strengthen muscles. It is preserved mainly in the muscles and adipose tissues (fats) and can also be found in small amounts in the liver.
Our body is usually quite efficient when it comes to storing vitamin D, which is a great advantage when we spend seasons with little sun exposure, since the lack of sunlight (either by living in an area with long and dark winters or for the simple fact of not living much outdoors, for example) can affect both mood and health.
Since the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be quite diffuse, it is not always easy to recognize a deficiency. However, certain symptoms can give us clues:
A healthy level of this vitamin would be between 40 and 80 ng / ml. Given that it is a fairly common deficiency today, it is advisable to go to a specialist to check vitamin D levels. This way we will avoid a possible deficiency!
Sunbathing without sunscreen for a few minutes helps our body to supply itself with vitamin D. But remember that the number of minutes varies according to some factors such as the time of year and the geographical area, for example, and that sun exposure has always to be controlled. Follow the recommendations that best suit the region in which you are.
In the winter months, the sun is not usually strong enough to guarantee adequate formation of vitamin D. But as we have already mentioned, our body can store it and draw on reserves in the seasons when we do not receive an amount enough of sunlight.
Sometimes it is necessary to resort to supplements of vitamin D: a doctor can identify if there is a deficiency and prescribe an appropriate treatment. Let yourself be guided by the specialists!
If you perform a blood test and the results indicate a deficiency of this vitamin, the most likely thing is that the specialist will advise you and prescribe vitamin D supplements for a few weeks, which will help you regain your reserves. Afterwards, the amount of supplements will surely be reduced to a dose that allows you to maintain a healthy level.
These foods help boost vitamin D absorption:
Vitamin D is very important for the development and strengthening of bones. An adequate level of vitamin D in the blood minimizes the risk of bone fracture. Likewise, an adequate presence of this vitamin also reduces the risk of osteoporosis in the elderly.
Strengthening the muscles Vitamin D supplements have been shown to improve muscle strength. A meta-analysis of eight studies (Zurich, 2009) dealing with the regular consumption of vitamin D supplements indicates that the risk of falling can be reduced by 19% in older people. In addition, the results of this research also indicate improvements in performance and muscle strength in high-performance athletes who consumed a combination of vitamin D and vitamin K supplements.