Vitamin D 101 — A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

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What to know about Vitamin D!

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D can be produced by the body itself when exposed to sunlight. That is why it is also known as the “sunshine vitamin”. But this process is influenced by a lot of factors: the season of the year, the time of day, the distance of the Sun from the Earth, cloudiness, smog, clothing that covers human skin, etc. By the way, skin pigmentation also affects the production of vitamin D. Melanin acts almost like a good SPF filter: the darker the skin of a person, the more difficult it is to generate it from sunlight. We all know that with age (regardless of skin tone), this ability also decreases.

How Can We Get Vitamin D?

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Just like we can get certain necessary elements from products like Delta 9 THC gummies, you can consume vitamin D from supplements, food, or under the influence of sunlight. In fact, this is a fat-soluble hormone-type vitamin. Your body can produce it, for example, from cholesterol when exposed to UV rays with an index of 3 or higher. But living in a city where the sun is almost invisible, plus sitting in an office, you often do not have time to get the right amount of UV radiation. At the same time, if you are following a decrease in body weight and have limited the amount of fatty food, then you will receive less cholesterol. What should you do then? You should either take the relevant supplements or abandon a low-fat diet and eat something containing this vitamin.

The fastest way to get vitamin D is to eat canned cod liver. Yes, it is insanely high in calories, but it is enough to eat 20-30 grams of cod liver, spread it on a piece of bread, and you can calm down for the next two or three days. So, you will have vitamin D in a more or less adequate concentration. Other sources of vitamin D are whole dairy products, egg yolk, sardines, eel, and herring. However, you will never be able to measure the dose that you need.

Why Do We Require Vitamin D?

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In addition to being involved in maintaining bone and muscle strength, there is growing evidence of its effect on almost all organs and systems. Surprisingly, most tissues and cells in our body have receptors for vitamin D, and its active form impacts the functioning of about a third of all our genes. There is also evidence that the deficit of this element is connected with a higher risk of cancer (including colon, prostate, breast, pancreas cancers), several autoimmune pathologies (type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis), and as well as cardiovascular disorders.

How Much Vitamin D Do We Require?

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International recommendations estimate the minimum dose for adults at 1,000 IU per day, and depending on the health conditions and the deficiency, it can increase several times. Accurately assessing the production of the vitamin during exposure to the sun is quite difficult. But there is evidence that in the skin of an adult wearing a bathing suit and exposed to the sun at the level of the minimum erythematous dose, an amount of vitamin D equivalent to 10,000–25,000 IU is formed.

In the autumn-winter season, various nutritional supplements are mainly recommended for the prevention and correction of vitamin D deficiency. They can be consumed both on an empty stomach and with food. The scheme of consumption can also be different – from daily to three courses a year (the body can accumulate vitamin D and use it as needed). Side effects are almost absent, except in cases of overdose. Therefore, it is very important to follow the recommendations and avoid the simultaneous use of several supplements (for example, multivitamins and vitamin D separately).

Deficiency Symptoms

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Symptoms of D-deficiency are usually visible in children when they have rickets – large foreheads, knuckles, and thickenings on the ribs. But there are also not obvious symptoms: the presence of cramps, especially at night, twisting in the legs, difficulties falling asleep or frequent waking up, sweating of the neck and head. The more extended list of symptoms is the following:

  1. Lack of energy and weakened immunity;
  2. Sleep disorders;
  3. Fragile bones and teeth, easily subject to destruction;
  4. Reduced testosterone and a decreased libido (hormone D deficiency has been proven to cause testosterone deficiency);
  5. Muscle weakness;
  6. Insulin resistance or diabetes of the second type;
  7. Psoriasis;
  8. Muscle and bone pain of unknown origin (often diagnosed as fibromyalgia);
  9. Poor healing of wounds and injuries;

Conditions that can be associated with low levels of hormone D: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; arrhythmia; heart attacks, atherosclerosis; obesity; memory problems; depression. However, you always need to evaluate them in the complex: if there are problems with sleep, sweating, an acute reaction (the dog barked unexpectedly, and you jumped), then this may be one of the symptoms that there is a severe vitamin D deficiency. Everyone should pay attention to this, especially those following low-fat diets. If their bodies cannot produce enough vitamin D, they may lack the cholesterol to produce it.

As for overdosing, it frequently manifests itself as hypovitaminosis, but in tripled symptoms: constant convulsions and nervous excitability. A chronic overdose of vitamin D can also lead to calcification of the kidneys and those organs that do not need calcification. In particular, atherosclerotic processes are intensified. With a constant excess of vitamin D, calcium is deposited in the plaque, the vessel becomes not as elastic and mobile as it could be. This can lead to stroke and heart attack in the future. Therefore, you should not self-medicate, taking vitamins should be prescribed by a doctor.

The only informative test for assessing the reserves of hormone D in the body is 25 (OH) Vitamin D. Despite the generally accepted range of 30-100 ng/ml, the optimal values of hormone D are 60-80 ng/ml (or 150-200 nmol/l). The daily dose can be about 3,000-5,000 IU but this requires individual calculations.

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