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WHAT IS VITAMIN D

WHAT IS VITAMIN D | WHAT IS IT? WHEN TO TAKE? BENEFITS?

WHAT IS VITAMIN D

Vitamin D, also called calciferol, is crucial for the normal development and balance of the body. The synthesis precursors of this vitamin can be found in foods of animal and vegetal origin: fish liver oil, chicken liver, egg yolks and industrially enriched food (eg.: margarines, cereals, etc.). However, these precursors require exposure to ultraviolet radiation in the body, to be converted to its active form and perform its activity. Hence, exposure to the sun, is a determining factor for the synthesis of the active form of vitamin D.

HOW IT WORKS

The main function of Vitamin D has to do with the maintenance of calcium and phosphorus’ serum concentrations, which is important for the mineralization of the bone structure. Consuming this vitamin promotes the intestinal absorption of these minerals, and in the case of vitamin D deficiency, only 10-15% of the ingested calcium is absorbed. This shows the relevance that the consumption of this vitamin has for bone density.

Consumption of adequate doses of vitamin D contributes to an increase in muscular strength, stimulates the functional capacity of the body and contributes to reducing falls, especially in the case of elderly people. At the same time, the consumption of vitamin D affects apoptosis (cell death mechanism), which helps regulate cell proliferation and has a preventive effect on the development of cancer (e.g.: prostate, breast and colon). There is also evidence that the consumption of this vitamin reduces insulin resistance and is also responsible for preventing psychological problems, such as depressions.

Vitamin D deficiency leads to many health problems, such as muscle weakness, rickets (poor bone formation), osteomalacia, osteoporosis, tooth decay, and may even lead to joint, kidney and respiratory problems. Excessive consumption of this vitamin, on the other hand, may lead to hypercalcemia, or contribute to the excessive calcification of the bones and soft tissues (e.g. kidney, lung and even the eardrum, which can cause deafness).

Increasing the intake of vitamin D, through the use of dietary supplements, helps to: prevent bad bone formation, increase bone strength and reduce the risk of fractures. In addition to bone health, the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D helps to strengthen the immune system and the proper functioning of the thyroid, which contributes to weight regulation. There are also studies that suggest a hypotensive effect of vitamin D – related to the increase in elasticity of the arteries, helping to prevent high blood pressure and to promote cardiovascular health.

The intake of vitamin D occurs mainly through food, but also external factors (sun exposure, season, geographical location, weather conditions, age, pollution and skin colour) determine the conversion of this vitamin in order to be active and functional. Because of all this restrictions vitamin D deficiency is very common and that is why the intake of dietary supplementation is the best way to go.

The daily dose of vitamin D recommended for adults is 15 μg/day.

The main benefits of Vitamin D:

• Increases bone density
• Reduces risk of osteoporosis
• Strengthens muscles and joints
• Strengthens the immune system
• Protects cardiovascular system

NEED TO KNOW

Dietary supplements should not be used as substitute of a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

The consumption of this supplement may compromise kidney function or cause severe injury in individuals suffering from kidney diseases.

The ingestion of this supplement can compromise liver function or cause severe lesions to people suffering from liver disease.

Do not use in combination with glucocorticoids (e.g. cortisol or prednisolone), antiepileptic drugs or anticonvulsants. The medication’s effectiveness may be reduced.