Vitamin D is not by chance called “Vitamin of the sun” – unlike other nutrients, it is almost not contained in food, but it is produced in maximum doses when our skin is exposed to heat and light. But given the typical Russian summer, from three months of which it’s hot and sunny for about thirty days (at best), it’s not enough to talk about a sufficient amount of vitamin in the body. Who is to blame and what to do? We understand right now.
Who is at risk
In an interview with Healthista, nutritionist Kim Pearson notes that there are several factors that put people at risk. First, it is dark skin, which is much slower than light, synthesizes vitamin D in the body. Secondly, pregnancy and lactation, when Vitamin D must be ingested by women from supplements to avoid any possible risks. Also in danger are:
- Older people who are rarely on the street;
- Office workers who spend most of the day indoors;
- People who work at night shifts, and therefore sleep during the day.
“I regularly test my client’s vitamin D levels. And people with the optimal level are, as a rule, those who take vitamins in supplements or spend a significant amount of time in sunny countries, ” says Pearson.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health problem, as long-term lack of it in the body, according to research, increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and can potentially increase the risk of cancer. Below are five signs that should alert you.
Vitamin D is vital for the normal functioning of the immune system. “Without a sufficient amount of vitamin, our immune cells will not be able to respond to the threat accordingly, making the body as a whole more susceptible to infections,” Kim Pearson notes. At the same time, vitamin D affects the quality of both innate and adaptive immunity.
Lack of Mood
“In addition, vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining healthy levels of serotonin in the brain,” adds Pearson. Recall that we are talking about neurotransmitters that we need for a great mood and thirst for life. It is also interesting that the compilation study, published in 2014 in Medical Hypotheses, established a link between vitamin D deficiency and seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression).
“Vitamin D is also necessary for our body to convert food into energy,” continues Kim Pearson. – If you constantly feel tired this may mean that the body does not absorb nutrients from food, which, in turn, can be triggered by a vitamin D deficiency. ” The good news is that you can quickly deal with the problem (as shown by a study published in 2016 in the journal Medicine, vitamin D supplement can correct the situation in 7-8 days).
In addition to all of the above, vitamin D is needed to regulate the level of calcium and phosphate in the body, which – and everyone knows it – is important for bone health and teeth. Adequate levels of vitamin D have been shown by studies to help prevent osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and osteoporosis (loss of bone density) in adulthood. During the 2014 study, it was found that people over the age of 50 with vitamin D deficiency often suffer from pain in the hip joint and knee joints.
Vitamin D also supports muscle function, since its receptors are located throughout the body. “If muscles constantly whine for no particular reason, you should think about a possible deficiency of vitamin D in the body, ”warns Kim Pearson. The fact is that, getting into the cells of muscle tissue, vitamin D increases the frequency of muscle contractions, helping the muscles stay strong and elastic. This protects them from tearing and minor damage, including during workouts.
How to get vitamin D
Most people can get enough vitamin D by being in the sun every day for 15-20 minutes. The optimal time for this is from 11:00 to 15:00. Moreover, to provide your body with vitamin D, you need to stay in the sun without a cream with SPF, that contradicts all dermatological recommendations.
And here is a more rational option – food. Despite the fact that they will never provide you with the same amount of vitamin D as sunlight, in the company with supplements they will work quite well. So in the fall and winter, make sure that your diet contains fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), egg yolks, cheese, liver, and also vitamin D-fortified dairy products and cereals.