Vitamin D is most often referred to in the context of bone mineralization. It also supports the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. However, be aware that it has a much wider meaning for the proper functioning of the body. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of vitamin D deficiency is common in Europe, especially in children and adolescents. What are the consequences?
Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when exposed to sunlight. However, this is a process depending on the season, time of day, latitude, weight or skin complexion. In our climate, the synthesis of vitamin D is possible only between mid-April and mid-September (in March and September 3 hours a day, in June and July 9 hours). During this period, however, the skin is usually protected with a cream with a UV filter, which prevents its production. Vitamin D can also be provided to the body along with the diet. And this is difficult, because the products that are its main source, and therefore fish (eel, salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel), are still eaten in Poland too rarely. The source of vitamin D are also: milk, cheese, egg yolks. It is also enriched with infant formula milk, rice porridge and margarine.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Too little vitamin D can be diagnosed already in the neonatal period, especially if the pregnant woman did not take her proper doses. In the baby you can see the head too flat behind, which is related to the softening of the bones. In extreme cases there is bulging of frontal tumors. The process of bladder fusion is also longer. You may also see the so-called frog’s belly (when the baby is lying, the belly is spreading sideways), which is related to the weakness of the abdominal muscles. On the other hand, a few years old due to a deficiency of vitamin D most often complains of bone and muscle pain. It can also suffer from periodontal disease and have no appetite. There may also be visual disturbances and recurrent diarrhea. Muscle strength is also weakened, so the child may not have the strength to be active.
What effects can vitamin D deficiency have?
Vitamin D hypovitaminosis can have very serious consequences. Children and adults can get them acutely. In the case of the youngest, due to vitamin D deficiency, bones and teeth are most often weakened, which are more susceptible to damage. It may also come to the development of rickets.
Vitamin D deficiency greatly increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (especially hypertension, which is sometimes diagnosed in primary school students), inflammatory diseases.
In contrast, in adults, who are also very often deficient in vitamin D, this condition should be associated with a higher risk of ischemic heart disease, mood disorders (depression, anxiety disorders) and cancers (especially breast, prostate and large intestine).
It is extremely important that the whole life is properly equipped with vitamin D. Unfortunately, the results of epidemiological studies conducted in recent years show that the majority of people in Poland, especially children and adolescents, have an insufficient level of this vitamin. Its supplementation is essential, especially in autumn and winter, to maintain proper health.
Sunlight is a source of vitamin D
Under the action of ultraviolet in the skin begins to form the substance we need. Moreover, in different skin types and under different environmental conditions, vitamin D is formed in different ways. The most prone to vitaminization is light skin. Dark skin to form the same amount requires much more time and sunlight. The state of cleanliness of the air of the city also plays a big role. In polluted cities, sunlight is harder to break through, and vitamin D is formed in the skin at a slower rate. The most favorable time for sunbathing: morning until 12 o’clock. At this time, the sun’s rays are the least aggressive, and the air is still clear.
How to get vitamin D from food?
But what to do when it is overcast and the sunlight is not visible for weeks? For many regions of Russia, this phenomenon is quite common. The answer is obvious: in conditions of a deficiency of sunlight, we must include in the diet foods that are rich in the substance we need. There is a reasonable question: where does vitamin D and other nutrients? There are products whose content in this element is able to satisfy the need of the human body. These include:
- Fish oil – this is what contains vitamin D in large quantities. Judge for yourself: 100 g of this product contains 0.21 mg of valuable vitamin. It turns out that only 5 g of fish oil can satisfy the daily human need for vitamin D. In addition, fish oil normalizes lipid metabolism in the body and promotes weight loss. Regular consumption of this magic product makes hair thick and manageable, promotes skin rejuvenation, has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Previously, fish oil frightened off with a sharp and unpleasant smell, and the modern drug is elegantly sealed in a vial and does not smell. Before you buy fish oil in a pharmacy, consult your doctor, as there are a number of contraindications.
- Sea fish. This is where vitamin D is contained, and there are significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. High-fat marine fish varieties are valuable sources of vitamin D, especially cod and halibut. It is contained in a smaller amount in herring (2.9 µg / 100 g of product), mackerel, tuna (3 µg / 100 g of product). The maximum concentration of vitamin D is in fish liver. Eating sea fatty fish, you also enrich the body with unique omega-acids, which prolong youth and fight atherosclerosis.
- Chicken eggs, in particular the yolk, is what contains vitamin D in the amount of 4.5 μg per 100 g. This is an affordable product that contains vitamin D and A. Their combination contributes to the best absorption. In addition, the yolk contains valuable lecithin, which gives elasticity to ligaments.
- Beef, pork or chicken liver – which one do you prefer? In 100 liver you can find 0.4 micrograms of vitamin D. In addition, the liver is a product that contains vitamin D, valuable protein, iron and copper, which are easily absorbed and protect the body from anemia.
- Fat dairy products: butter, sour cream, cream – the content of vitamin D in them is about 0.2 μg. Dairy products contain calcium and phosphorus, which are well absorbed thanks to vitamin D. Having studied this list, you now know where vitamin D is contained. Be sure to include these foods in your diet and stay healthy. It is important to note that this vitamin tolerates heat treatment rather stably, but is destroyed by light and air.
How to be vegetarians?
Vegetarians who exclude all animal products from the diet should also think about where vitamin D is found. Vegetarians should pay attention to walnuts, mushrooms, parsley, oats, nettles, alfalfa and dandelion. But the content of vitamin D in these plant foods is very small, and it will be difficult to fill the deficit by eating only such food. For such a case, you will need to include in the diet of fish oil, which contains vitamin D in large quantities.