Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients our body needs to stay healthy. It plays an important role in regulating the immune system, protecting bones and preventing various diseases. In this article, you will learn more about vitamin D and how to maintain good vitamin D levels in your body. We discuss the functions of vitamin D in the body, the different sources of vitamin D, the health benefits of vitamin D, and how to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
I. Background information on vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for the human body. It is an essential vitamin needed to maintain calcium balance, bone growth and bodily functions. It is primarily synthesized through exposure to the sun on the skin , but can also be ingested through certain foods and dietary supplements.
There are two forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants and is mainly found in mushrooms, while vitamin D3 is mainly found in animal products but also in some mushrooms.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), vitamin D can support the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus, promote bone development and growth, and maintain normal immune system function.
Vitamin D is also attributed the following health-promoting effects
- Reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- maintaining normal muscle function
- Supporting a normal function of the immune system
- Support for normal functioning of the nervous system
- Supporting normal blood pressure
Functions of vitamin D in the body
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced by the body and is found in many foods. It plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body and immune system. Vitamin D has many important functions in the human body, including forming and maintaining bones, regulating blood calcium levels, and supporting immune function.
Vitamin D has several functions in the body. It
- Supports bone formation and maintenance by promoting the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestine.
- Helps regulate blood calcium and phosphate levels.
- Supports muscle strength, muscle coordination and balance.
- Supports the functioning of the immune system and reduces the risk of infection.
- Supports the production of various cytokines that help regulate the immune system.
- Supports blood flow and strengthens the circulatory system.
- Helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The EU health authority has issued a number of official vitamin D health statements stating that vitamin D is important for the normal functioning of the immune system, bone growth and maintenance, and blood calcium levels.
Different forms of vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining good health and is important for both children and adults. Vitamin D can usually be obtained from food and vitamin D supplements. There are two main forms of vitamin D that the body can use: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3 ).
Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, comes primarily from plant sources and can be synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3 , is derived primarily from animal sources, but can also be synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D3 is the predominant form of vitamin D in the body because the body produces the largest amount of vitamin D on its own. Compared to vitamin D2, vitamin D3 is more effective because it stays in the body longer and is better absorbed.
To understand how vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 work differently, let's consider the following points:
- Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is absorbed about 60 to 80 percent better than vitamin D2. This means that the body can absorb more vitamin D3 and use it better than vitamin D2.
- Vitamin D3 is better able to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 stays in the body longer than vitamin D2, giving the body more time to utilize it.
- Vitamin D3 is the predominant form of vitamin D in the body. The body produces most of the vitamin D it needs itself, mainly in the form of vitamin D3 .
Sources of vitamin D: Sunlight, food and dietary supplements
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for healthy bones and strong muscles. Adequate intake of vitamin D can help prevent chronic diseases and is also necessary to protect the immune system . Vitamin D can be ingested from a variety of sources.
The most important source of vitamin D is sunlight. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D. The sun's ultraviolet rays stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin, allowing us to store vitamin D in our bodies. In the summer months in particular, it is important to regularly and consciously soak up sunlight.
Our food is also an important source of vitamin D. Rich in vitamin D are, for example, salmon, eel, eggs, milk, whole grain products, margarine and oatmeal. However, the amount of vitamin D that can be ingested through these foods is relatively small and not sufficient to meet the daily vitamin D requirement.
As an alternative or supplement to sunlight and diet, dietary supplements can be used as a source of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are very convenient and a good option for people who don't get enough sunlight or eat only a few vitamin D-rich foods.
II. Relationship between vitamin D and health
Vitamin D is an important building block for human health. It has many health-promoting effects, including a positive influence on the immune system, bones and cartilage, muscles and the cardiovascular system.
Below is a list of the health benefits of vitamin D confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal absorption/utilization of calcium and phosphorus.
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscles.
- Vitamin D helps to strengthen the immune system.
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Vitamin D helps maintain normal blood calcium levels.
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth.
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system.
- Vitamin D helps protect cells from oxidative damage.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D: Bones, Immune System, Cardiovascular System and More
Vitamin D has many health benefits and can support various systems in the body. This article examines the health benefits of vitamin D, including its effects on bones, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system.
The link between vitamin D and bone strength has been known for a long time. Vitamin D is important for absorbing calcium, which is needed to build and maintain healthy bones. It can also help maintain bone health by increasing bone mineral density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Official health claims authorized under the EU Health Claims Regulation read as follows: "Vitamin D intake helps maintain normal blood calcium levels, which in turn helps maintain normal bones.
Vitamin D also supports the immune system. It can help improve immune system function and strengthen the body's natural defenses. Vitamin D also plays an important role in the production of certain cells that contribute to immune defenses.
Official health claims authorized under the European Health Claims Regulation are as follows "Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system".
Vitamin D is also associated with a healthy cardiovascular system. It can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Vitamin D may also help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases.
Official health claims authorized under the European Health Claims Regulation are as follows "Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system".
How vitamin D deficiency can trigger various diseases
A lack of vitamin D can lead to numerous health problems. These include muscle weakness, muscle pain, osteoporosis, increased susceptibility to infections, depression and even autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, especially in older people. A study involving 2,611 people between 1995 and 1997 showed that those with the lowest levels of vitamin D also had the weakest muscles.
A lack of vitamin D is also associated with muscle pain. A study of 5,876 people published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that vitamin D deficiency was more likely to lead to muscle pain.
According to the Osteoporosis Germany Foundation, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to osteoporosis, especially in older people. Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining bone density by aiding in the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the gut.
Increased susceptibility to infection
A lack of vitamin D can also lead to an increased susceptibility to infections, especially in older people. A study of 3,669 people over the age of 70, published in Nutrients, found that those with low vitamin D levels were three times more likely to develop respiratory infections than those with normal vitamin D levels.
A lack of vitamin D can also lead to depression. A study of 8,607 people published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that people with low vitamin D levels were at a higher risk of depression.
A lack of vitamin D can also lead to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. A study of 3,525 people published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that people with low vitamin D levels had an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
The role of vitamin D in preventing disease
Vitamin D is an essential substance that can affect our health and well-being. The vitamin is involved in calcium and phosphate metabolism and influences bone formation, the development of our immune system and our general well-being. A sufficient supply of vitamin D is also essential for the prevention of various diseases.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of the following diseases
- Osteoporosis: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining good bone mineral density and in preventing osteoporosis.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Studies have shown that taking vitamin D can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Diabetes: Vitamin D affects insulin metabolism and may help reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Asthma: Some studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the risk of asthma in both children and adults by improving immune function.
- Autoimmune diseases: Vitamin D may reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
- Cancer: Vitamin D may play a role in reducing the risk of various types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
III. Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Some of them are
- A low sun index - vitamin D is synthesized by direct sunlight, and the less direct exposure a person has to the sun, the lower the opportunity to synthesize sufficient amounts of vitamin D.
- Darker skin tone - People with darker skin tone have natural skin pigmentation that reduces the ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight.
- Elderly people - Elderly people have a reduced ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight as their skin thins and vitamin D synthesis is less efficient.
- Diet - A lack of vitamin D in the diet is another risk factor for vitamin D deficiency.
- Obesity - Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, as excess fat can bind vitamin D reserves.
Who is particularly at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including a weakened immune system and osteoporosis. It is therefore important to have an adequate level of vitamin D in the blood. However, some people are particularly susceptible to vitamin D deficiency.
One group particularly at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency is the elderly. Older people have an increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency because their skin cannot absorb as much vitamin D as younger people. In addition, older people often consume fewer vitamin D-rich foods than younger people.
In addition, people who do not spend enough time outdoors every day are particularly at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. For example, people who live in remote areas or work indoors are more prone to vitamin D deficiency. People with a physical disability that makes it difficult for them to be outdoors are also at higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency.
Finally, people suffering from gastrointestinal disease have a particularly high risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. People who have a digestive tract disorder that can lead to decreased vitamin D absorption are at increased risk.
Factors affecting vitamin D levels in the body, e.g. B. Age, skin color and lifestyle
There are several factors that affect vitamin D levels in the body, including age, skin color, and lifestyle.
As we age, the body's ability to produce vitamin D through the skin decreases. In addition, vitamin D is absorbed less effectively in the digestive tract. This can lead to vitamin D deficiency in older people. According to the European Health Claims Regulation (HCVO), the risk of vitamin D deficiency is higher in older people than in younger people.
Skin color can also affect vitamin D levels. According to EHC, people with darker skin absorb less vitamin D from direct sunlight because the melanin pigments in darker skin decrease vitamin D production.
Lifestyle also affects vitamin D levels. People who spend little time outdoors have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. The EHC therefore recommends a regular intake of vitamin D through food and/or vitamin D supplementation.
In addition, factors such as gut health , body weight, physical activity, diet, and dietary supplements affect vitamin D levels in the body. Other factors that affect vitamin D levels include stress, illness and use of certain medications. It is therefore important that people with an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency have their vitamin D levels checked regularly.
IV. How to maintain vitamin D levels in the body
How you can improve your vitamin D levels depends on the method you choose. Here are some of the most common ways to increase vitamin D levels:
- Regular sun exposure: 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight daily is enough to increase vitamin D levels. The best results are obtained in spring, summer and autumn.
- Supplements: Taking vitamin D supplements such as vitamin D3 tablets or drops is recommended to increase vitamin D levels.
- Dietary intake: Vitamin D levels can be increased by eating foods that contain vitamin D, such as fish, dairy products, and eggs.
- Lifestyle changes: Eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and reducing alcohol consumption can also help increase vitamin D levels.
Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D depends on various factors such as age, gender, diet and ethnicity. According to the European Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims (EU Health Claims Regulation, HCR), the following dosages are recommended as appropriate:
Pregnant and lactating women
infants and young children
Due to the increased need for vitamin D in pregnant and breastfeeding women, the dose should be increased to 20 µg / day. It should be noted that the above recommendations apply only to healthy people. Individuals with certain medical conditions should take a higher dose, but only after medical recommendation and supervision.
It is known that vitamin D can be obtained by eating specific foods or taking dietary supplements. According to UNHCR, food is the main source of vitamin D. In some cases, the sun can also be a source of vitamin D.
Foods that contain vitamin D include fats and oils (e.g. oily fish and natural oils), meats (e.g. lamb and beef), dairy products (e.g. yogurt and cheese) and eggs. Some yeast products like bread also contain vitamin D.
This is how you get enough vitamin D from sunlight and food
Vitamin D is important for many bodily functions, and a deficiency can lead to health problems. Some people get enough vitamin D from regular exposure to sunlight, while others get it from food. To ensure you are getting your vitamin D needs, it is important to know how to get adequate vitamin D from sunlight and food.
Sufficient sunlight for vitamin D
Vitamin D is formed in the skin when exposed to sunlight. The amount of vitamin D that the skin makes depends on the intensity of UV radiation, which in turn is determined by the time of day, period, duration and altitude above sea level. To get enough vitamin D from the sun, the European Food and Drug Administration (EMA) recommends the following guidelines:
- Exposure to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes a day, preferably between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Keep your face, arms and hands out of the sun for as long as possible.
- Avoid midday when the radiation is at its strongest.
- Use sunscreen if you are going to be outdoors for a long time on a sunny day.
Sufficient vitamin D through food
There are a number of foods that contain vitamin D, e.g. E.g. fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel), egg yolks, cod liver oil, mushrooms, dairy products and some orange fruits and vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, apricots and mangoes).
Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, e.g. E.g. certain dairy products, orange juice, margarine and some whole grains. If you don't eat any of these foods, you can take vitamin D supplements to meet your vitamin D needs.
What you should consider when choosing vitamin D supplements
When choosing vitamin D supplements, it is important to ensure that the supplement contains enough vitamin D to ensure an adequate supply of this vitamin. In many cases, a daily intake of 800-1000 IU of vitamin D is recommended, but it's important to note that each person's daily dose needs will be different depending on their age, weight, and medical condition. For example, adults over the age of 70 should receive a higher dose than younger adults.
To make sure you're getting the right dose of vitamin D, it's a good idea to consult a doctor before taking any vitamin D supplement. The doctor can prescribe the correct dose and ensure that there are no interactions with other medications or supplements.
When buying a vitamin D preparation, pay attention to the composition and the other ingredients. Vitamin D supplements are available in the form of tablets , drops, or other oral supplements. The most common formulations are vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol and vitamin D2 as ergocalciferol. Both formulations have similar effects, but it is important to know which one works best for you.
V. Risks and side effects of vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements can be a safe and effective supplement, but they also come with risks and side effects. If you are taking vitamin D supplements, you should consider possible drug interactions and other vitamins and minerals.
Possible risks and side effects of vitamin D supplements are
- Overdose: If you take a high dose of vitamin D, you may experience a toxic reaction. Symptoms of overdose may include constipation, kidney stones, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, tiredness, dizziness, increased blood calcium levels and increased blood pressure.
- Drug Interactions: Vitamin D may interact with certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and bacterial infections.
- Allergies: People who are allergic to certain vitamin D supplements may experience allergic reactions such as rash, itching, hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat.
Possible side effects of vitamin D supplements
There is a risk of side effects when taking vitamin D supplements. The most common side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Other possible side effects include muscle pain, headache and loss of appetite. In rare cases, allergic reactions, cardiac arrhythmia, increased blood creatine phosphate kinase (CPK) and kidney damage can also occur. It's important to note that most of these side effects only occur with high doses or long-term use of vitamin D supplements. If you plan to become pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult your doctor before taking any vitamin D supplements.
Recommended dosage and overdose
The question of the recommended dosage of vitamin D cannot be answered unequivocally. It depends on various factors such as age and health. It's also important to know that vitamin D can temporarily reach levels that are too high if too much is taken.
In principle, it is recommended to take in around 20 μg of vitamin D with food every day. However, most people do not consume the recommended daily amount. Therefore, taking vitamin D supplements is recommended. However, it is important not to exceed the dosage as too much vitamin D can lead to health problems.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the following dosage recommendations for vitamin D apply:
- Adults over 18 years of age should not exceed 600 IU (15 μg) per day.
- People between 11 and 17 years of age should not exceed 600 IU (15 μg) per day.
- People between 7 and 10 years of age should not exceed 400 IU (10 μg) per day.
- People under the age of 7 should not exceed 300 IU (7.5 μg) per day.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not exceed 600 IU (15 μg) per day.
Who Should Not Take Vitamin D?
It's important to realize that not all people should take vitamin D supplements. Complications can occur in people with certain pre-existing conditions or when taking certain medications. Therefore, doctors recommend that people with the following conditions should not take vitamin D supplements:
- kidney disease
- liver diseases
- Hypervitaminosis D
- Xenobiotics (drugs that affect the absorption of vitamin D)
- neoplasia (cancer)
- diabetes mellitus
Also, pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking vitamin D supplements. People with kidney stones or other kidney diseases should also be particularly careful and inform their doctor about possible interactions before taking a preparation.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and an important part of a healthy diet. It supports the normal functioning of the immune system, maintenance of calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, growth and development of bones and teeth, and maintenance of muscle tone.
Vitamin D is mainly absorbed through food and sun exposure. Because sun exposure varies by region and season, people living in regions with little sun exposure should get vitamin D through their diet.
There are also foods that contain vitamin D and some supplements that provide concentrated forms of vitamin D. However, dietary supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet.
The European Regulation on Health Claims on Food (EFSA) contains the following official statements on vitamin D:
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal absorption/utilization of calcium and phosphorus.
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Vitamin D contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism.
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscles
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth
Summary of the main results
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that affects many functions in the human body. It is an essential vitamin that the body cannot produce itself and must obtain from food. It is also often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is formed in the skin when exposed to sunlight.
There are two pathways of vitamin D biology: synthesis of vitamin D in the skin and absorption from the diet.
The main source of vitamin D is the sun, and it is formed in the skin when exposed to sunlight. The body can also absorb the vitamin from foods rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be obtained by taking dietary supplements.
Vitamin D plays an important role in human health. Experts believe it has various health benefits, among others
- improvement in bone health
- Support of the immune system
- Reducing the risk of various types of cancer and other diseases
- Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
To maintain optimal vitamin D levels, the European Commission recommends that adults regularly check their vitamin D levels and take the recommended daily dose.
Recommendations & Conclusions
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is formed in food and in the skin when exposed to direct sunlight. It is an essential vitamin that is indispensable for the proper functioning of the immune system, muscle tissue, bone metabolism and protection against various diseases. It is therefore important that the vitamin D level in the body always remains in the optimal range.
From the above facts about vitamin D, the following conclusions can be drawn:
- Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is essential for a healthy and balanced body.
- Vitamin D can be obtained from food or from direct sunlight.
- Vitamin D has many health benefits that protect the body from various diseases.
- Adequate intake of vitamin D can keep vitamin D levels in the body at optimal levels.
Due to the important role that vitamin D plays in the health of the body, the following recommendations are made:
- Consumers should try to get at least the recommended amount of vitamin D (20 μg/day) through food.
- Get 30 minutes of direct sunlight every day to keep your body's vitamin D levels at optimal levels.
- If you take medication regularly, ask your doctor if you need a vitamin D supplement.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamin D
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
A lack of vitamin D can cause a variety of symptoms. These include muscle weakness, fatigue, mood swings, depression, bone and joint pain, sore muscles and a weakened immune system. A lack of vitamin D can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How long does it take for the body to be replenished with vitamin D?
How long it takes for the body to be supplied with vitamin D again depends on various factors, for example the extent of the vitamin D deficiency, the duration of the deficiency and the amount of vitamin D taken. In the case of a slight deficiency, the vitamin D level can improve after just a few weeks. In the case of a severe deficiency, it can take several months before the body is sufficiently supplied with vitamin D again.
Can You Get Too Much Vitamin D?
Yes, an overdose of vitamin D is possible and can lead to health problems. Too high a dose can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue, headaches, and kidney problems. It is therefore important not to exceed the recommended dosage and to have the vitamin D level in the blood checked regularly.
Are vitamin D supplements also suitable for vegetarians and vegans?
Yes, there are vitamin D supplements that are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. These usually contain vitamin D3 , which is obtained from lichen and is therefore free of animal components.
Can vitamin D supplements be combined with other medicines?
Yes, vitamin D preparations can usually be combined with other medications without any problems. However, if you are taking blood-thinning medication or if you have kidney disease, you should consult a doctor before taking vitamin D supplements, as special caution is required here.