Why vitamin D?
Vitamin D is ‘hot’, a lot of research is being done on this nutrient at the moment. It contributes to the firmness of our bones. Calcium and phosphorus from our diet are better absorbed by vitamin D. In addition, it has been shown that vitamin D can reduce the growth of cancer cells and that it plays a critical role in controlling infections.
However, the most important role is reserved for promoting or inhibiting calcium absorption in the body. Once the calcium level in our blood drops, vitamin D is converted into an active form. This activated vitamin D goes to the intestinal tract and to the kidneys. In the gut, it provides an increased absorption of calcium in the blood. In the kidneys, vitamin D ensures that less calcium goes out of the body.
Research has shown that a high intake (around 20 mcg per day) of vitamin D through supplements can reduce the risk of bone fractures by 20%.
Vitamin D also supports the development of muscle strength. The decrease in bone fractures with an increased intake of vitamin D seems therefore not only due to the improved calcium absorption but also by a more powerful body. By less ‘sway’ (wobbling, especially occurs in the elderly) the risk of falling decreases.
A deficiency of vitamin D leads to osteoporosis, heart problems, cancer, MS and infectious diseases (eg flu).
How do we get vitamin D?
Vitamin D is naturally predominantly in animal products such as oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel) and in butter. In the Netherlands, it is also added to milk alternatives (rice milk and soy milk), low-fat margarine, margarine and frying and roasting products.
Our body can also produce vitamin D itself through exposure to sunlight. However, you have to be exposed to a high sun every day for more than 15 to 30 minutes (between 11 and 15 hours). In addition, the head, hands and arms must be uncovered. In addition, a colored skin inhibits the absorption of vitamin D and the absorption also decreases with aging. In short, which Dutchman meets all these conditions? In my experience we do not get much outside, we are always covered with clothing and many Dutch people have a relatively dark skin. In short, the chance that we get enough vitamin D is very small!
I take a supplement at least in the months with the ‘r’. Often we are well dressed and we do not get out too much. Moreover, it is not yet certain how much vitamin D our body can actually produce with this low sun exposure.
There is a lot of discussion about the recommended amount. In the Netherlands, adults are recommended 2.5 to 5 micrograms per day. In the US it is increased to 15 mcg and in addition the upper limit is not 50 mcg (NL) but 100 mcg.
I, therefore, take a tablet D3 (cholecalciferol) of AOV every day during the winter months. Such a tablet contains 600 IU (international units) and this corresponds to 15 mcg.
Let us know below which supplements you take, why and which brands you like!