Vitamin DVitamin D is soluble in fats and has different functions in human body. It occurs in the skin, where the pro-vitamin is changed to vitamin D under the influence of UV light. Provitamin is present in different fats, but fish oil is the most important source of it.
It is assumed that one billion people in the world have a lack of vitamin D today. Vitamin D is important for both physical and mental health.
The minimum daily intake of vitamin D should be 5 micrograms a day (but in United States it is said that the optimal intake should be 50 micrograms of vitamin D).
It should be noted that the dark skinned people need six times more UV rays in order to create enough vitamin D, that vitamin D has been depositing in the adipose tissue in obese people and that the elderly have less vitamin D precursors in the skin.
Why is Vitamin D Important?Direct result of chronic lack of vitamin D is osteoporosis (brittle bones). It occurs in women and is becoming more common in men, along with age. The best way to prevent osteoporosis is taking one gram of calcium per day, preferably in the form of dairy products. Vitamin D, together with calcium and exercising, is starting treatment for osteoporosis. A recent study has shown significantly lesser frequency of falls in people who take enough vitamin D. Prevention doesn’t only include a smaller number of fractures due to stronger bones, but also increased muscle strength due to vitamin D intake.
Many studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also means greater risk of heart disease and cancer, impairment of the immune system, and increase in the diabetes development.
One of the last studies has shown especially interesting results that addresses the significantly less frequency of pulmonary tuberculosis in those who take enough vitamin D.
In addition, the results of studies show that people who take enough vitamin D are in 60% reduced risk of colon cancer.
Furthermore, vitamin D has slowed down cells aging in the laboratory researches.
There are studies suggesting that cognitive functions are better in those who have the optimal intake of vitamin D.
Besides that, some references talk about relationship between vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and indicators of inflammation. All these risk factors lead to heart diseases.
What to Do?Dermatologists say about the great risk of skin cancer if we are exposed to sunlight. But there are risks of serious illnesses if there is a deficit of vitamin D. According to recent research it is enough to expose the arms and legs to the sun for 5 to 30 minutes, twice a week and thus avoid the risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Also, the weekly intake of fish rich in beneficial fats (sardines, mackerel, tuna, salmon) meets the needs for the precursors of vitamin D.
Healthy people should not take vitamin supplements for prevention, but they should meet the needs for this vitamin by a healthy diet. But, people with a chronic disease or possibility of some hereditary disease development, should take vitamins, but only by the advice of a doctor.