Vitamin D is extremely important for the body. There are ways to prevent deficiency. But be careful – too much supply can harm your health.
Frankfurt – Especially in the dark season, when the weather is damp, cold and uncomfortable, only a few people drive outside. Working from home during times of the Corona pandemic also means that fewer and fewer people are outdoors. But this is a particular health problem. The human body needs sunlight, among other things, to produce an important vitamin: Vitamin D. It is very important for humans because it regulates phosphate and calcium metabolism and thus contributes to bone hardening. Additionally, vitamin D boosts the immune system and has an effect on muscle strength.
So vitamin D deficiency can be harmful to your health. As rztezeitung sums up, the list of diseases that are likely to be related to deficiency is getting longer and longer. Contains diseases such as susceptibility to infection, muscle weakness, heart attack, diabetes, rheumatism, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. But when is there a deficiency and what should be done about it?
Preventing Vitamin D Deficiency: Instead of Pills and the Like – What Can Really Help
According to the German Dietetic Association (DGE), there is a deficiency when the serum concentration of the marker 25-hydroxyvitamin-D is below 30 nmol / liter of serum. This type of deficiency is not the case with the majority of the population in Germany. However, nearly 60 percent of Germans do not achieve the best possible blood concentration of 50 nanomoles per liter of serum, the professional community confirms. As a result, this means that more than half of Vitamin D’s potential for health has not been fully exploited. However, according to experts, it is not necessarily recommended to use pills and supplements for healthy people. Because it can promote vitamin formation through an adapted lifestyle and guided nutrition.
Sunlight on the skin can be sufficient for the body to produce the necessary amount of vitamin D. However, how much of this important vitamin is actually produced depends on factors such as time of year, weather, clothing, and skin type. Therefore, DGE advice should be understood as routing values only. Between March and May, 10 to 25 minutes of sunbathing are sufficient in Germany, depending on the type of skin. About a quarter of the body’s surface should be exposed to sunlight, for example part of the arms and legs, as well as the hands and face. For skin types 1 and 2, the skin type listed in the table indicates “light to very fair skin tone, light red or blond hair, and blue or green eyes”. The third skin type is “medium skin tone, dark hair and brown eyes”.
|Duration of sun exposure for skin types 1/2||Duration of exposure to sunlight for type III skin|
|March to May: 10-20 minutes||March to May: 15-25 minutes|
|June to August: 5 to 10 minutes||June to August: 10 to 15 minutes|
|September to October: 10-20 minutes||September to October: 15-25 minutes|
|Source: German Nutrition Association (DGE)|
Vitamin D: Which foods have the highest concentration?
However, these indicative values only relate to the period between March and October. But what is the best way to behave in the dark season? Of course, it is also beneficial to sit in the sun in the winter season, but because the angle of incidence of sunlight is very flat, large amounts of the vitamin are not necessarily produced, according to “rztezeitung.” The good thing about vitamin D is that it can be stored in the body. So if you build up a stock of the vitamin in the summer, you can feed it in the cooler, less sunny months.
But the right diet can also help raise your vitamin D level. The concentration of this important vitamin is greatest in fatty fish like herring and salmon. Eggs also have a remarkable concentration. Various types of mushrooms and liver are also recommended. However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), for example, maintains that vitamin D intake through the diet plays only a secondary role. The focus remains on the body’s production of sunlight.
|food||Vitamin D (μg per 100g)|
|Chicken egg yolk||5,60|
|Total chicken eggs||2,90|
|Goudakäse, 45% F. i. R.||1,30|
|Source: BfR based on Souci / Fach / Kraut, 2008|
Vitamin D overdose: Too much of the vitamin can be harmful to health
There are no pills and lotions that contain vitamin D only, and some foods are now even fortified with vitamin D. However, it is not recommended to take such supplements unless there is a proven deficiency in vitamin D and an improvement in the level cannot be brought about by food or exposure to sunlight, BfR confirms. And there is a simple reason for that.
Because excess vitamin D can have a negative effect on health. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warns: “With a regular daily intake of more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D, which can currently only be achieved through excessive intake of vitamin D preparations with normal eating habits, unwanted effects such as kidney formation can “Stones or calcifications occur in the kidneys. However, for medical reasons, higher amounts of vitamin D. can be determined medically.”
Vitamin D deficiency: groups at risk – when experts recommend the pill
However, some groups of people belong to groups prone to vitamin D deficiency. This includes, for example, people who, for health or other reasons, can only spend a short time outdoors (for example due to illness). Even people who, for cultural or religious reasons, only leave home with a body completely covered in clothing or people with darker skin complexions, according to the BfR. Older adults also belong to the risk group, because the formation of vitamin D in the body decreases with age. In addition to the elderly, young people also belong to the at-risk group. Because infants get very little of the vitamin through breast milk, exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided as much as possible.
Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for these high-risk groups. However, only if a deficiency of these is found and the doctor recommends them to improve the level of the vitamin. (Sophia Luther)