In the quest to improve the immunity against various diseases, the consumption of vitamin D has increased in recent years. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble steroid hormone, which means that it can dissolve in fat and is therefore stored in large quantities, especially in the liver. It is very important for the human body and its absence can lead to a series of problems, since this vitamin can influence hundreds of genes in most human tissues and cells, including those of the cardiovascular system.
Vitamin D received its name in 1922 and was baptized with the fourth letter of the alphabet precisely because it was the fourth substance discovered, after vitamins A, B and C. At the time, it was believed that it could only be obtained through food.
As early as the 1970s, researchers discovered that vitamin D could be synthesized by the body or obtained by ingesting certain foods, including fatty fish. But its reputation as the “sun vitamin” has something to do with it: 80 to 90% of the substance that the body receives comes from exposure to the sun, since type B ultraviolet rays (UVB) are able to activate its synthesis.
Basically, vitamin D comes in two forms: vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, which has plant origin and is obtained through diet, and vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, which is synthesized in the skin after exposure to the sun.
If it is found during an evaluation, through the blood test, that the patient has a vitamin D deficiency, the substance produced in the laboratory can be prescribed and administered in the form of extra cost. By health professionals, it may still be indicated for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
The benefits of vitamin D and the forms of consumption
This micronutrient’s primary function is to regulate the body’s calcium and phosphorus levels for bone health. It is also linked to cellular and neuromuscular functioning, ensuring they are able to grow and repair themselves.
When vitamin D works in the body, it turns into an important hormone called calcitriol. It is involved in the immune system, helping to balance the body’s defenses, controlling blood pressure, protecting against tumor formation, inhibiting inflammatory processes and carbohydrate metabolism, helping to reduce the risk of diabetes and diseases metabolic.
Typically, only 10-20% of the body’s vitamin D needs are obtained through food. The remaining 80 or 90% needed to maintain good health comes from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
An important tip for including this vitamin in your diet is to read the nutritional information that accompany the dishes. There, you will find that many of your meals are already enriched with it.
But of course there are natural sources of nutrients such as high fat wild fish (like salmon, tuna and sardines), sun-grown mushrooms, fortified milk and its derivatives, fortified cereals, fish liver oil and egg yolk. . The ideal is to consume between 2 and 3 servings a day.
Although it is present in foods, they do not contain the full amount of vitamin D the body needs. It is therefore necessary to have between 15 and 20 minutes of sun per day. The arms and legs must be exposed because the amount of nutrient obtained is proportional to the amount of exposed skin.
Reminder: to obtain vitamin D during sun exposure, it is important not to apply sunscreen. Experts indicate that the most appropriate time of day to benefit from the benefits of UV rays is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Recommended Vitamin D Dosage
According to the US National Institute of Health, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, represented by international units (IU), is 400-1000 IU/day for babies 0-1 years old; 600 to 1000 IU/day between 1 and 18 years old; 600 to 2000IU/day for adults and pregnant women.
The vast majority of people who live in urban areas lack vitamin D, mainly because they spend a lot of time indoors and don’t get out in the sun.
Some signs of vitamin D deficiency are depression, bone problems, heart disease, risk of pregnancy, diabetes, and other complications. However, there is a way to reverse this situation through assisted supplementation.
*Ary Bucione is the founder of NutriConnection, a nutraceutical and functional consulting firm. NutriConnetion develops new projects and products in food, beverages and supplements, focusing on nutrition, technology, marketing, benefit communication and regulation in an integrated way.