The properties of Vitamin D
What it is and how is it obtained
The vitamin D or calcifer l is a type of vitamin that all of us, throughout our lives, have heard about. It is that which is obtained mainly through exposure to sunlight rather than with food.
It is easy especially in countries where the hours of daylight are somewhat scarce present a deficit or deficiency and therefore the use of vitamin D supplements is common.
There is not only one type of vitamin D. In total, there are 5 variants. Our body is only capable of using two types of it: vitamin D2 or Ergocalciferol or Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol.
- vitamin D2 is found in certain foods of plant origin and D3 through sun exposure. When obtained by the sun, the molecule is in an inactive form and must undergo certain processes and reactions before it can be used.
- Vitamin D3 , as such, does not have no physiological capacity, so it has to be transformed into hormone D3 or cholecalciferol for it to have biological activity.
Regarding its metabolism, the absorption of vitamin D3 occurs, first of all , in the small intestine thanks to micelles that help its emulsion (because it is fat soluble). Once in the enterocyte, it passes into the systemic circulation, which transports it to the liver, where it begins its conversion to hormone D3.
Products with vitamin D
Its functions within the organism
The vitamin D is involved in a large number of functions that are vital for the body, its proper functioning and health, so its lack can lead to a large number of problems.
Among the functions main ones, we highlight:
- At the level of bones and joints: it contributes to regulate the absorption of calcium in the intestine. It is also essential for the formation of new bone and replacement of that which has been damaged. Its deficiency in the body increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- It helps to improve the immune system. Regulates and strengthens immunity. Reduces inflammation produced in the body and oxidative stress. A low level of vitamin D increases the risk of colds and diseases involving the respiratory system by 40%.
- It is used to maintain a correct hormonal balance.
- Vitamin D protects the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas , while increasing sensitivity to insulin
- Maintain a correct supply of vitamin D during pregnancy may lead to a lower risk of certain complications , such as avoiding pregestational diabetes or premature birth.
- It is involved in regulation of kidney function. Control of phosphorus and calcium levels. Reduces blood pressure and promotes correct functioning of muscles and cell division.
- At the muscular level: It intervenes in well-being, concentration and quality of sleep.
How to get small doses with food.
The main source as we have mentioned is through the sun’s rays. Despite this, there are certain foods that can provide us with small doses.
The foods in which it is most abundant are those of animal origin, such as Cod liver oil, sardines, tuna or salmon. Mainly in fatty fish and also a certain amount in egg yolk, milk, meat and butter.
Vitamin D supplements
We can buy vitamin D supplements with a prescription or over the counter.
With a medical prescription we can obtain the active form of vitamin D, because being fat-soluble and being able to be stored in the body, there is a greater risk of intoxication.
Those in free form: we can find the two forms mentioned above D3 and D2.
- Supplement of D3: That which is found in products of animal origin. It is the most recommended when it comes to obtaining a supplement of this vitamin. Being of animal origin, it is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
- Vitamin D2 supplement: is obtained from foods and compounds of plant origin so it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is found in mushrooms and other plant-based foods. It has a worse absorption than D3. It is recommended to choose the previous one, and in case of a strict vegan diet, D2.
What are the benefits of taking vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are necessary to maintain healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Lack of vitamin D can cause bone deformations such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a disease called osteomalacia in adults.
Is it okay to take vitamin D every day?
Current guidelines say that adults should not take more than equivalent to 100 micrograms per day . But vitamin D is a “fat soluble” vitamin, so your body can store it for months and you don’t need it every day. That means you can just as safely take a supplement of 20 micrograms a day or 500 micrograms once a month.
Does vitamin D affect sleep?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of sleep problems , such as sleep disturbances, insomnia and, in general, poor quality of sleep.
What are the side effects of taking vitamin D?
Most people do not usually experience effects with vitamin D , unless they take too much. Some side effects of taking too much vitamin D include weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, metallic taste, nausea, vomiting and others .