We need ‘vitamin D,’ and we don’t mean the fashion collection that a well-known Swedish brand has launched to celebrate the arrival of the summer. Did you know that vitamin D is involved in more than 200 chemical reactions in our bodies? The skin is the most important way to synthesize it and get the most out of it. In recent months, there has been an intense debate about just how important vitamin D is, according to the Programme of Preventive and Health Promotion Activities (PAPPS) promoted by the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC).
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and is obtained in two ways: by sunbathing and through food intake. It has beneficial effects on the bones and mainly on the digestive, renal and immune systems.
Today we know that more than 50% of the Spanish population suffers from a lack of vitamin D, but this percentage is even higher in the case of pregnant women (62%) and the elderly (80%). Figures are similar worldwide, and this is due to the fact that our daily lives are largely spent in front of a screen indoors.
Why is vitamin D so important?
It helps the body in absorbing calcium to keep bones and teeth strong. It plays an essential role in children’s growth and helps reverse the damaging effects caused by osteoporosis. Vitamin D also helps the intestines make use of the phosphorus they need. According to the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), it increases the body’s calcium absorption by 30-40%. In the case of phosphorus, the absorption figure is up to 80%. Numerous clinical trials are underway to determine how vitamin D influences a wide range of pathologies. Its importance is vital for our bodies.
What is the required daily dose?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends 15 mg daily intake for the general population. Infants need 10 mg. We will now tell you which population groups are most likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency:
- Children because they are in the phase of growth.
- The elderly. Many of them live in residential homes and suffer from disorders when it comes to absorption of this vitamin.
- Pregnant and menopausal women.
- People with dark skin. They produce less vitamin D because a large number of melanocytes in their skin act as a filter against ultraviolet rays.
How to sunbathe?
A basic recommendation would be to expose your arms and legs, without sunscreen or glass (glass filters out UV radiation), for a maximum of 20 minutes a day during the summer. From autumn onwards, put your face and arms out of the window for about ten minutes. If you are teleworking and have a garden, it is advisable to sunbathe between 10 and 11 am. UV cabins do not produce vitamin D in the body. On the other hand, they do increase the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing.
And what about sunscreens?
Their use blocks vitamin D synthesis. If you are concerned about facial melasma, it’s fine to use sunscreen because vitamin D synthesis is almost non-existent on the face.
When are you lacking this nutrient?
There is no clear consensus on this issue. For the US National Academy of Medicine, the correct range for levels of the prohormone calcifediol (also known as 25-hydroxycholecalciferol) is between 12 and 20 ng/ml. The Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition advises vitamin D concentrations between 30 and 50 ng/ml.
Which foods are richest in vitamin D?
In Europe, the nutrient reference value (NRV) for vitamin D is five micrograms. Through food intake, we can obtain up to 20% of this reference value. Here are some examples:
- Oily fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon, or mackerel.
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
- Legumes, vegetables, and whole grains, which provide minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
- Include kefir, yoghurt, black garlic, and millet in your diet.
- A lot of vitamin D accumulates in the liver. A tip to get rid of it: eat spinach, broccoli, and celery.
- Vitamin D is also present in eggs, especially in the yolk. Since 2019, techniques are being studied to add this nutrient to eggs by exposing them to UV radiation. It’s OK to eat an egg a day. Your cholesterol levels Since 2019, techniques are being studied to add this nutrient to eggs by exposing them to UV radiation. It’s OK to eat an egg a day. Your cholesterol levels won’t suffer because of this.
A daily intake of vitamin D is essential. It is best to get it from calcium-rich foods such as dairy products or, failing that, calcium-enriched water. Finally, remember to take magnesium into account. This is an essential micronutrient required for healthy bone function.
The vitamin D-enriched cereals and vegetable drinks sold in supermarkets are likely to contain a fat derivative of sheep’s wool. This makes them unsuitable for vegans. Few people are aware that many of the foods fortified with vitamin D, including cereals, are derived from animals.
What happens if you have too much vitamin D stored in your body?
This can lead to health problems. Too much vitamin D causes more calcium to build up in the blood. This results in loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, asthenia, kidney problems and pain in muscles and bones. You should not take vitamin D if you already have a high level of calcium in your blood or urine or if you have ever suffered from kidney stones. We always recommend that you discuss this with your GP.
Our Zenement products with vitamin D
Vitamin D3 4000 UI Zenement. It strengthens the immune system and enables the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus efficiently. This keeps bones strong. This product contains 4000 IU of vitamin D3 per capsule. So, when you take it when you need it most, you will quickly restore the ideal level of vitamin D in your body.
Vitamina D3 2000 IU + K2 150 Zenement. Vitamin D supports healthy bones, muscles, and the immune system, while vitamin K2 helps absorb calcium. K2 is in Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) form, which is more bioavailable and bioactive than other forms.
Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3 Zenement. Helps prevent low blood calcium levels in people who have a diet low in calcium. Calcium is a mineral that plays an important role in the body, enabling the nerves, cells, muscles, and bones to function optimally. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, the body will take calcium from the bones and weaken them. This supplement has an added vitamin D, which is intended to promote calcium absorption.
Zenement Magnesium. Magnesium contributes to the activation of vitamin D, which is responsible for helping to regulate calcium and phosphate homeostasis. This factor consequently contributes to increased bone density.