Vitamina D - La Vitamina del Sol

Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and plays a fundamental role in our health. You know why? Today we will tell you everything you need to know about the “Sunshine Vitamin”.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin that requires good quality fats for its absorption, such as olive oil. Dietary sources include cholecalciferol (vitamin D3 from predominantly animal sources, e.g., eggs and fatty fish) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2, from plant sources, e.g., mushrooms and tofu). It is involved in the function of multiple body systems, especially the immune and bone systems. Nowadays, there are various health problems related to low levels of this vitamin, since it acts like a hormone and its deficiency has various consequences.

The body is capable of producing large amounts of vitamin D when exposed to UVB light, which is why it is called the “sunshine vitamin.” However, statistics show that a high percentage of the population has deficient levels in their body, since in the modern world it is common to spend a lot of time indoors, use sunscreen and have a poor quality diet that lacks food. rich in vitamin D. There are certain groups of people who may be especially vulnerable to this deficiency, for example:

  • Those who choose vegan or vegetarian diets.
  • Pregnant and lactating women.
  • Breastfed babies and young children.
  • Individuals with dark skin or who cover excessively.
  • People with digestive deficiencies, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or fat malabsorption disorders.
  • Older adults, since the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin becomes less efficient with age.
  • People taking certain medications that can significantly deplete vitamin D levels, such as steroids and fat-blocking medications used for weight loss.
  • Those who present malnutrition due to excess or deficiency.

To give you an example, if you are taking medication, if your work life stresses you and you are tired, there are viruses circulating in your environment, you have digestive disorders, immunity and defense problems or you suffer from chronic pathologies, you may require a supplement of vitamin D.

Why is vitamin D essential for health and why is its deficiency so harmful to our well-being?

Sex hormones: Vitamin D is related to the levels of these hormones in the blood, directly influencing conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, sexual desire and regulation of androgen metabolism in men.

Energy: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with fatigue and pronounced tiredness. People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome show low levels of vitamin D.

Structure: Menopausal women are at risk of suffering from diseases such as osteoporosis or osteopenia, due to decreased estrogen. Since vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health, it may be beneficial to increase intake as a preventive measure for perimenopause. Additionally, it can be a support for severe hair loss conditions such as alopecia.

Nervous system: Vitamin D has the potential to protect nerve cells and helps counteract related diseases such as multiple sclerosis, depression and cognitive decline. Its deficiency can also decrease the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in our emotions and pleasure, influencing mood changes and psychological disorders.

Immunity: Vitamin D can reduce the risk of infection in people with autoimmunity problems, modulate the underlying disease process and reduce the risk of developing it. People with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from increased dietary and supplemental intake to help manage their symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin D may also be useful for conditions such as eczema, and there is research showing that a low maternal intake of vitamin D may increase the likelihood of allergies in children.

Overweight and Obesity: Its participation in the levels of appetite-regulating hormones and its anti-inflammatory effect in those who suffer from obesity are essential. On the other hand, being a fat-soluble vitamin, it can become trapped in body and visceral fat deposits without being able to be used by the body.

Digestion: A leaky intestinal wall contributes to an impaired digestive system. Vitamin D can support healthy bonds in the intestinal lining and the healing process, along with other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A and L-glutamine. Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with an increased risk of chronic digestive conditions, especially Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

As you can see, vitamin D deserves its place in the nutritional first aid kit.

Nutritionist Valeria Riquelme V.

Extract translated and adapted from BioCare UK

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