Winter days are shorter, some dark and others rainy. Our bodies cannot absorb the same amount of UVB rays than during summer months and our vitamin D levels are directly affected. Also, people with darker skin and the elderly are less efficient at converting the sun’s rays into vitamin D3. In this article we tell you what it is, what it is for and how we can strengthen vitamin D3 in our body.
What is vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is a naturally occurring form of vitamin D that is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. It can also be obtained through diet and supplements. Regarding vitamin D, it is considered a hormone that acts as a micronutrient whose presence is essential for the metabolism of the human body. This acts on different physiological processes related to the body’s immunity, both related to innate immunity (monocytes, dendritic cells…) and acquired immunity (B and T lymphocytes). It works within the endocrine system to keep our serotonin and dopamine levels well regulated. In addition, it collaborates in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for optimal bone and dental health.
What is Vitamin D3 used for?
Vitamin D3 is used to prevent different infectious processes and alterations or allergies in our body, since it can help regulate the immune system. The World Health Organization notes that vitamin D “plays an important role in bone metabolism through the regulation of calcium and phosphate homeostasis.” This is produced in the body when it is exposed to sunlight, although it is also present in some foods. Another benefit of having good levels of vitamin D is that it can help improve heart health and muscle function.
So how do we know if we are deficient in vitamin D? Very low levels of vitamin D for long periods of time can lead to a loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis and severe fractures. It can also generate frequent muscle pain and contracture. In addition to tiredness and fatigue, which weakens our immune system and can cause us to get sick more often.
How much vitamin D does our body need?
In general, what is recommended is to have no less than 400 IU per day , this amount could increase depending on age, weight, season, how long you are outdoors, geographical area, skin color and obviously the existing blood levels of vitamin D. Some specialists recommend that in winter we need 500% more vitamin D in our body to avoid possible consequences in the medium-long term. That does not mean that in summer we do not need vitamin D, just that the amount we receive of this vitamin thanks to sunny summer days is much more than in winter. In addition, the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition suggests a daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D in children under 70 years of age and 800 IU for those over 70 years of age.
How can we strengthen vitamin D3 in our body?
- Diet rich in Vitamin D: to increase vitamin D in our body, it is important to increase our intake of foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs (egg yolks provide 41 IU of vitamin D), cod oil and mushrooms (due to their exposure to the sun, they contain a significant amount of vitamin D and with 100 grams they provide a third of what is needed in the day). Other foods rich in vitamin D are milk, cereals and yogurt.
- Add more fish to the diet: some types of fish are rich in vitamin D: salmon (It feeds on zooplankton, from which it takes vitamin D and eating only a small portion provides us with 265% of vitamin D), tuna, cod, mackerel, sardines, shrimp, tilapia or scallops are excellent sources of vitamin D.
- Sun exposure: there is a kind of phobia of the sun, we smear ourselves with creams, we cover ourselves with hats, we cover ourselves with scarves, we barely stick our faces out into the sun, confusing protection with concealment. Responsible sun exposure has no harm, but benefits.
- Food supplements: some specialists recommend taking supplements that contain vitamin D3, specially during winter time, since it is a plus that we give our body by needing more of this vitamin than in summer.
At Vitae we have developed vegan vitamin D3 drops that contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system thanks to its vitamin D content.
Another product with vitamin D3 is ImmunoVita which has Vitamin D3 as an ingredient , in addition to other ingredients that help strengthen the immune system such as yeast beta-glucans that help prevent and reduce the time of infections caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria, Vitamin B6 and Zinc that contribute to the good functioning of the immune system.