Vitamin D is one of the fundamental nutrients for our organism, along with other nutritional elements and minerals. However, unfortunately, due to the current lifestyle, characterized by the consumption of processed foods and the lack of healthy eating habits, we are facing increasingly low levels of vitamin D in our body.
This nutrient plays an essential role in the human body, directly influencing the health of the bones, the immune system and even the proper functioning of the heart and muscles. Your disability is a health problem that can affect people of all ages and origins.
Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Adequate sun exposure: Moderate sun exposure is the best way to produce vitamin D naturally. Spending about 15 to 20 minutes in direct sunlight, several times a week, can help maintain adequate levels.
- Balanced diet: Include foods rich in vitamin D in your diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines), egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified foods.
- Supplementation: In cases of severe deficiency or when sun exposure and nutrition are not sufficient, a doctor may prescribe vitamin D supplements.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency:
The main source of vitamin D for the human body is exposure to sunlight. When the skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun, it produces vitamin D. However, several circumstances can lead to deficiency:
- Lack of sun exposure: Living in areas with harsh winters, spending most of the time indoors or wearing clothes that cover most of the body can reduce sun exposure. In this sense, it is recommended to expose yourself to the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, with adequate sun protection, of course.
- Skin pigmentation: People with darker skin have higher levels of melanin, which can limit the production of vitamin D in the skin. Ideally, the body should have around 60-70 nmol/L of vitamin D in summer and 50 in winter.
- Advanced age: The body's ability to produce vitamin D decreases with age.
- Intestinal absorption problems: Gastrointestinal disorders and illnesses can impede adequate absorption of vitamin D.
- Kidney diseases: People with kidney disease may have reduced levels due to the inactivity of vitamin D enzymes, which need to be converted by kidney enzymes. Therefore, if the kidney does not function normally due to some illness, it may experience difficulties in carrying out this conversion.
- Hormonal imbalances and resistance to vitamin D receptors.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Weakened immune system: Low levels of vitamin D can hinder the ability of the immune system to defend itself, making the body more susceptible to infections and inflammation. Furthermore, the investigation suggests that people with vitamin D deficiency have a greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Slow healing: Along with vitamins K and A, vitamin D plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of rapid healing.
- Muscle weakness: Vitamin D plays a fundamental role in muscle function, and its lack can cause weakness.
- Vision problems: Low levels of vitamin D can affect the retina and cause night blindness and visual disorders.
- Bone pain: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone problems, such as osteoporosis and rickets in children.
- Difficulties conceiving: Lack of vitamin D affects the production of cholesterol, which is important for the production of sexual hormones.
- Depression: Studies suggest that vitamin D is related to mental well-being, and its absence can contribute to depressive symptoms.
- Irritability: Serotonin (the happiness hormone) is only produced in the body when there are adequate levels of vitamin D, which is why low levels can cause episodes of stress and irritability.
- Fragile nails: Vitamin D can influence calcium levels in the body, which leads to peeling, fragility and rupture of nails.
- Fatigue: People with low levels of vitamin D can feel more tired and have reduced energy, which often leads to excessive sweating, especially in the facial region.
Other common symptoms include unexplained body pain, excessive sweating on the head, recurrent infections over short periods of time, weight gain, hair loss, infectious diseases such as candidiasis and canker sores, as well as pain in the oral region due to loss of calcium.
Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Supplementation: The most common treatment for vitamin D deficiency is the use of vitamin D3 supplements, prescribed by a doctor. The dosage and duration of treatment depend on the initial levels and the severity of the disability.
- Medical follow-up: It is important to carry out follow-up tests to control vitamin D levels and adjust the dose of the supplement, if necessary.
- Improve nutrition: In addition to supplementation, making healthy dietary choices and including natural sources of vitamin D in your diet can help with recovery.
- Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining an active and balanced lifestyle, with regular physical activity and a balanced diet, also contributes to bone health and the absorption of vitamin D.
It is important to remember that self-medication is not recommended and it is essential to seek medical advice before starting any treatment for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a vital role in general health, and maintaining adequate levels can help prevent a series of long-term health problems.
Where to find vitamin D:
Although sun exposure is one of the main ways to increase vitamin D levels in the body, it is important to remember to use sunscreen to avoid sunburn and long-term damage to the skin, such as premature aging and dark spots , in addition to the risk of skin cancer.
Furthermore, there are several foods that can help increase vitamin D levels, such as:
- Yemas de huevo
- Chicken liver
- Champiñones and much more
How do you know if your vitamin D level is low?
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to consult a doctor to evaluate your case and decide whether it is necessary to replace vitamin D. Additionally, you can perform a blood analysis to check vitamin D levels, also known as hydroxyvitamin D o 25(OH)D. The reference values are:
- More than 20 ng/mL: Value considered adequate for a healthy person with normal levels of vitamin D.
- Between 30 and 60 ng/mL: Recommended range for older, embarassed people and patients with illnesses related to vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets and kidney disease.
- Between 10 and 20 ng/mL: Low value, with risk of bone loss and possibility of developing illnesses and symptoms.
- Less than 10 ng/mL: Extremely low value, generally requires medication replacement.
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