The main way we have to obtain vitamin D is through the sun’s rays . By going outside we could get enough vitamin D, but we are in full quarantine due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we cannot leave home unless it is essential. So how are we going to get vitamin D now? Are we going to end up with vitamin D deficiency after this quarantine?
The reality is that, even with the possibility of leaving home, approximately half of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D (confirmed by SEEN), reaching the category of “global epidemic”. This results in the fact that a large part of the population ends up taking supplements to achieve adequate levels.
The sun and food as the main sources of vitamin D
Most of vitamin D are synthesized to through of the skin when UVB converted 7-dehydrocholesterol we skin vitamin D3, the form of vitamin D that produce human and animals due to UV rays of the Sun. Plants, fungi and yeasts produce vitamin D2 from ergosterol, also thanks to the sun’s rays.
So what happens with the vitamin D 2 as with the vitamin D 3 it is that are made inactive that need to be activated in order to make their functions in the body. This activation is done in the liver and kidney once vitamin D (whether it is D2 or D3) passes into the blood. This transformation process is called metabolism and results calcidiol and calcitriol , being this last the form most active vitamin D . These active forms , they are already capable of making changes in the body .
How long do I have to sunbathe to get the necessary daily vitamin D?
It is estimated that 15 minutes of daily sun exposure on hands, arms, and face, around 12 noon, can make people with fair skin get 1,000 IU of vitamin D, more than enough to cover 600-800 IU daily recommended. It is important to note that this time depends on the place in the which we find and of the hour of the day .
But, in addition to this endogenous way of getting vitamin D through the sun’s rays, we can also obtain it by eating foods rich in vitamin D.
Foods rich in vitamin D
Regarding the dietary intake of vitamin D, it is important to note that it is found in significant amounts in few foods. The richest foods are:
- Fish Fatty : oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring …
- The yolk of egg . It is important to note that some of the vitamin D could be lost with cooking.
- Dairy, in less quantity.
- Mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light.
- Fortified foods. Certain foods such as dairy products, vegetable drinks or breakfast cereals usually have versions enriched with vitamin D. It is highly recommended that you choose to buy these products during the time you are in quarantine, especially if you do not have a corner at home in which sunbathe directly.
But… Why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D is necessary because it helps to absorb the calcium , one of the main components of our bones. It increases the intestinal absorption of dietary calcium, increases the reabsorption of calcium filtered by the kidneys , and it also mobilizes calcium from the bone when we do not ingest enough calcium to maintain blood calcium at adequate levels.
Furthermore, also it performs functions in the system nervous , muscular and in the system immune, regulating the immune response. It has also been shown to maintain good levels of vitamin D may help reduce the risk of developing hypertension .
What problems can I have if I lack vitamin D?
When you do not have enough vitamin D , the absorption of calcium does not is sufficient to meet the needs of calcium in our body . This causes the body to activate a mechanism to obtain the calcium that was already forming part of the structure of the bones and take it to the blood so that it can carry out the other functions, demineralizing the bones .
If this situation is maintained for a long time, the following pathologies may appear:
- Rickets in children and adolescents . Poor mineralization of the bones occurs that can cause bowed arms and legs.
- Osteomalacia in adults . A softening of the bone occurs as it is demineralized due to the lack of vitamin D and the consequent lack of calcium, increasing the risk of suffering from osteoporosis .
Situations that can cause a vitamin D deficiency
Some of the factors that contribute to vitamin D deficiency are:
- Conditions environmental and atmospheric little favorable . People who live in places where there are fewer hours of sunshine and where the sky tends to be more cloudy are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- The use of protecting solar causes the body to absorb UVB insufficient. This does not mean that we should do without sun protection, since the time we must sunbathe to get vitamin D is short.
- People with pigmentation of skin more dark absorb less rays UBV that people with fair skin.
- The people of the third age have one capacity reduced to synthesize vitamin D in the skin when exposed to radiation
Now that you know a little more about vitamin D… You know! If you have a corner at home where you can sunbathe, take advantage of the sunny moments!
If you don’t have that option, don’t worry, try to choose foods enriched with vitamin D when you go shopping. And if at some medical checkup once you have detected a deficiency of vitamin D, consultation with one professional if in your case it would be advisable suplementarte vitamin D during this time.