Vitamin D: where it is found, what it is used for and how to stock up on it

The vitamin D is essential for good bone health but also to maintain active the immune system and other functions of our body. But where is this substance found and exactly what is vitamin D used for ?

First of all it is essential to know that we are only partially able to ensure the need for vitamin D through diet, for the rest we need to expose ourselves regularly to sunlight.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, i.e. it dissolves in fats, the peculiarity of this substance is that, unlike other vitamins, it behaves as if it were a hormone, acting on different organs and tissues. Many studies over the years have shown its importance in the prevention of various diseases including tumors and disorders of the nervous system but also against the most trivial infections.

Low levels of this vitamin can lead to the onset of various diseases, so it is important, especially after a certain age or in case of presumed deficiencies, to do the necessary blood tests to evaluate the dosage of vitamin D in the blood.

Read also: VITAMIN D: SYMPTOMS AND CONSEQUENCES OF A DEFICIENCY

Where is Vitamin D found

There are two ways to ensure your daily dose of vitamin D, the first is to be exposed to the sun every day for at least 20-30 minutes . Indeed, through regular and moderate exposure to sunlight, our skin is able to synthesize this vitamin. It is important to leave the face and hands uncovered and, when possible, it is better to increase the exposed skin surface, leaving the arms and legs uncovered.

However, we must be careful of some factors that hinder the production of this substance . For example, sunscreens that, on the one hand, protect us from ultraviolet rays, on the other hand, do not allow the synthesis of vitamin D. We therefore recommend that you use protective creams in the hottest hours of the day, reserving at least half an hour for a exposure without cream (obviously when the sun is low and there is no longer the risk of sunburn ).

Other factors that inhibit the absorption of vitamin D are obesity , exposure to light that takes place behind a window (the glass hinders the passage of solar radiation), air pollution and old age (after a certain age, in fact, physiologically there is a lower cutaneous production of vitamin D).

With some foods it is possible to take vitamin D even if not enough to reach the requirement. These are in particular foods of animal origin such as fish, milk and eggs or fortified foods (in which the presence of added vitamin D is therefore well indicated on the label). There are also some foods of plant origin with a certain amount of this vitamin, in particular mushrooms.

In some cases, on the advice of your doctor or pediatrician (even children are often deficient ), it may be useful to use a vitamin D supplement . Supplementation is often recommended in the coldest and cloudy periods of the year when it is not possible to reach the daily requirement of this vitamin with regular exposure to sunlight.

Read also: VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS

What is Vitamin D for?

Vitamin D is essential for good bone health (as it regulates the metabolism of calcium in both the absorption and fixation of the mineral in the bones) of the nervous system and heart . Its deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and anemia in adults or rickets in children.

This vitamin is of fundamental importance for the mineralization of bones and teeth and therefore essential for growth in the case of children and for the general health of the body when it comes to adults or the elderly. Vitamin D also intervenes in the intestinal absorption of other precious minerals for our body (such as phosphorus) as well as being useful in regulating the nervous system . A constant exposure to the sun with consequent production of vitamin D helps in case of depression, for example.

This vitamin is also useful for the proper functioning of the muscular system , to strengthen the immune defenses and in particular preventing infections but also acting as a protection against some types of tumors and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

It is therefore evident how important it is to always ensure the right intake of vitamin D considering that this varies according to age or particular conditions (for example pregnancy).

 

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