Vitamin D is vital for the human body. In the cold season we often don’t have enough of it. This is how you recognize a possible defect.

The earlier setting of the sun is one of the things that heralds the beginning of autumn. The sun is currently setting at 6:11 p.m. – still. Because until December 21st, the so-called “winter solstice”, the days will be even shorter. Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 4:58 p.m. is the longest night and shortest day of the year.

How is vitamin D made?

This goes hand in hand with less sun exposure – something that is essential for the production of vitamin D. Because the body cannot produce vitamin D itself; it needs the sun to do it. This is why vitamin D is also called the “sun vitamin”. Although – strictly speaking – it is not a vitamin, but a hormone.

Read here: Here’s what you can do about vitamin D deficiency

The sun’s UVB rays stimulate the body’s own vitamin D production in the skin. How well it can be formed depends on latitude, time of year and time of day, weather, clothing, length of stay outdoors and skin type. The use of sunscreen also plays a role. They can reduce the body’s own production. This means that the contribution of the body’s own production to vitamin D supply can vary greatly from person to person. Thus, the body’s contribution to the vitamin D supply cannot be determined across the board.

Read here: These sun protection myths are utter nonsense

Fill the memory in time!

Although the hormone can be stored in the body, it does matter how well this store was filled during the sunny season. In addition, the memory is also emptied. Vitamin D is mainly stored in fat and muscle tissue, but also in the liver.

Read here: Vitamin D deficiency more dangerous than expected

The memory can also be filled through the ingestion of foods containing vitamin D, but only minimally. Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel contain large amounts. Chicken eggs (especially egg yolks), liver, mushrooms such as chanterelles or mushrooms and margarine enriched with vitamin D also contain vitamin D. In our latitudes, only two to four micrograms of vitamin D are consumed per day through a diet with the usual foods.

Why does the body need vitamin D?

Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestine and their incorporation into the bones and is therefore important for healthy bones and teeth. A vitamin D deficiency leads to bone diseases, a severe vitamin D deficiency in children to rickets and in adults to osteomalacia (softening of the bones).

It is important for a healthy immune system and also plays a relevant role in bone formation and tooth formation. It is also said to strengthen the brain. It is also said to protect against cancer, as well as against osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, diabetes and dementia. If it is not available in sufficient quantities in the body, it can lead to health problems. But also when there is too much of it in the body.

When is there a vitamin D deficiency?

According to the Federal Office of Public Health, there is a vitamin D deficiency if the 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in the blood is less than 50 nanomoles per liter of blood serum. A value of less than 25 nmol / l is considered to be a serious deficiency. In specialist circles, however, there is no consensus as to when a vitamin D deficiency can be detected.

What happens if there is a vitamin D deficiency?

That depends on the age at which this occurs. In infants and children, the bones are not sufficiently mineralized. That means: They stay soft and can deform. Experts call the disease rickets. If the deficiency occurs in adulthood, it can also lead to a disorder of the bone metabolism. Demineralization of the bone can make the bones soft (osteomalacia). A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, especially in old age.

Read here: Here’s what you can do about vitamin D deficiency

These are the first signs of a vitamin D deficiency

● Persistent fatigue: The reason: Vitamin D increases the energy level and thus keeps you active for a longer period of time. It is different when there is too little of it in the body.

● Hair loss and increased hair breakage

● Depressive moods

● Slow healing of injuries: An insufficient supply of vitamin D can not only slow down wound healing, it can also stop the healing process entirely.

● Diffuse bone and muscle pain

● Constant colds

Should therefore be supplemented in winter?

Only after consulting your doctor. Because, according to several studies, it is of no use in healthy, active people to take vitamin D preventively. Plus, too much vitamin D isn’t good either. It is best to have the vitamin D level ascertained as part of a blood test, then the doctor can decide whether and in what dosage supplements should be taken or not.

Why is too much vitamin D harmful?

If vitamin D is taken too high in the long term, the body’s calcium level increases (hypercalcemia), which can acutely lead to nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, vomiting or, in severe cases, kidney damage, cardiac arrhythmias, unconsciousness and death. Since vitamin D can be stored in the body, an acute and a gradual overdose is possible, according to the Swiss Society for Nutrition SGE.

Read here: Too much vitamin D – man suffers kidney failure

Are there people who are more likely to be vitamin D deficient?

The risk groups include people who can hardly or not at all be outdoors or – for cultural or religious reasons, for example – only go outside with their bodies completely covered, as the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment writes. People with dark skin are also a risk group, as the high melanin content in their skin means that they can produce less vitamin D than people with light skin. Older people also run the risk of being undersupplied with vitamin D, as vitamin D production decreases significantly with age and older people spend less time outdoors. Infants also belong to the risk group.

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