Vitamin D is called the vitamin of life, because it is crucial in the functioning of many organs of our body and without it it is impossible to preserve health. Despite the fact that it can be obtained from food and the sun through synthesis in the skin, up to 90% of the population of our continent suffers from too low a level of this vitamin in the body.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency does not hurt and does not give specific symptoms so that we are not able to detect shortages with the “naked eye”. Bearing in mind that almost all of us have deficiencies of this vitamin, especially in autumn and winter, it is worth considering whether we certainly do not feel the symptoms of this deficit, but we do not associate them with a deficiency.
- Chronic fatigue,
- Worsening of mood,
- Frequent infections,
- Weight gain,
- Recurrent injuries.
Do you know it? These ailments tease us especially in autumn because these are some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
You are not the only ones
Vitamin D deficiencies are among the most common in the world. This problem affects about a billion people! And the consequences can be really dangerous
- Osteomalacia manifested by bone pain resulting from abnormal bone mineralization,
- Osteoporosis which affects more and more elderly women,
- Rickets in children,
- Increased risk of developing civilization diseases, which is suggested by the latest research.
Is the sun enough for us?
Unfortunately, as much as 90% of Europeans have too low levels of vitamin D in the body. To put it too low, I mean the concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D below 30 nanograms per milliliter. In our latitude, due to the large distance from the equator, unfortunately, we are not able to fully use vitamin D. In autumn and winter, the angle of incidence of light does not allow for skin synthesis, while stocks that we can get in the summer end up in 2-3 months.
In which products will we find the vitamin of life?
Of course, vitamin D can be obtained from food products, but in order to cover the body’s needs, we would have to eat unimaginably large amounts of egg yolks, butter or milk which would not be healthy, because then we would lead to deficiencies of other vitamins, while replanting with cholesterol. And vitamin D from fish? As much as possible, several hundred grams of wild sea fish a day will help to provide a large dose of vitamin D. Let’s think only if we know where to buy wild sea fish, can we afford it and would we be able to eat every day from 500 to 700grams of fish a day, how is it how long? Consuming such large amounts of fish, unfortunately, we would supply too much heavy metals to our tissues. It is better to reach for the source of this vitamin which is not burdened with the consequences for health.
Supplementation? For whom?
In many countries, including Poland, there are official recommendations for taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter for everyone. Regardless of sex, age or type of diet, everyone should take a vitamin D supplement to be healthy. The doses of the recommended supplement differ, however, in the case of infants, children, adults, the elderly or obese.
What doses of a vitamin D supplement should we take?
The doses of supplements are usually given in IU or international units (IU) or mcg or micrograms. The converter looks like 1 mcg = 40 IU
Recommended doses of vitamin D supplement in Poland per day
- 400 IU for newborns and infants up to 6 months old
- 400 to 600 IU (depending on the amount of modified milk that can be a source of vitamin D) for infants from 6 months to 1 year of age
- 600 – 1000 IU from September to April for children and youth aged 1-18 years
- 800-2000 IU, depending on body weight, from September to April for adults (> 18 years old) with normal body weight
- 800-2000 IU, year-round for people over 65 years of age
800-2000 IU, throughout the year for people working without access to the sun in the hours of 10-15, which are not able to stay in the sun for up to 15 minutes with exposed legs and forearms
- Up to two times higher doses due to the accumulation of vitamin D in adipose tissue for obese people – according to the doctor’s instructions.
Benefits of living vitamins
In addition to reducing the risk of the aforementioned diseases, thanks to regular care of the adequate supply of vitamin D, we can gain a number of health benefits. Studies indicate that the risk of any invasive cancer (excluding skin cancer) in women with a concentration of 25 (OH) D in the serum> 40ng / ml was 67% lower than in women with vitamin D deficiency. There are also indications that the essential role of vitamin A D in combating bacteria and viruses and preventing both acute and chronic inflammation, as well as autoimmune diseases. It was also noticed that various forms of neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or cognitive decline are much less common in people who are properly provided with vitamin D. In turn, people who are already ill may also benefit from supplementation – a milder course of the disease,longer survival. Clearly, optimal supply of vitamin D and availability of 25 (OH) D seems to be crucial not only to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, and the diseases mentioned above, but also in the case of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and infectious diseases including tuberculosis and influenza.
Can vitamin D be overdosed?
Excess vitamin D in the body, although it does not occur often can have serious consequences. Therefore, UL has been established, ie the upper tolerable level of vitamin D intake which, depending on the age and amount of adipose tissue, is very diverse. For adult and elderly people with normal body weight and children> 10 years and adolescents, it is 4000 IU per day, for obese people up to 10,000 IU, and for children <10 years 2000 IU per day. This means that doses below UL are safe and we should not exceed them on our own. Remember, not always more is better!
Supplementation with doses higher than the acceptable limit is associated with the risk of hypercalcaemia (ie increased blood calcium levels). This is a dangerous phenomenon because it does not cause any symptoms, and if it lasts for a long time it may promote the formation of kidney stones and cause calcification of the blood vessels. Other serious consequences of overdose include nausea, weakness, impaired psychiatric functions, and even kidney failure and arrhythmias.
In summary, the dose of vitamin D is best to consult a doctor who will determine it after conducting an interview and / or blood laboratory tests and will take into account possible factors or disorders that disrupt the assimilation of the supplement.