Vitamin D plays an essential role in the attachment of calcium by the body. Helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, except that in case of restriction, exposure is limited. What can you do to avoid deficiencies? Which foods do you prefer? Do you take capsules or ampoules?
[Mis à jour le vendredi 17 avril 2020 à 14h33] Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of our body. Everything even more coronavirus epidemic in which the immune system is even more stressed. Vitamin D is synthesized by the body under the influence of the sun or brought from certain foods. In this epidemic context, the National Food Safety, Environment and Health Service (ANSES) recalls in a press release published on April 17, 2020 how important it is to have adequate vitamin D intake, especially during childbirth and when you can’t see enough sun, Especially for the elderly, people with dark or even dark skin and women with menopause. It is also recommended expose to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day to meet his daily needs. During childbirth, if you do not have a garden, balcony or terrace, you can be exposed from an open window. What foods to find? What are the risks of a deficiency? Tips and recommendations.
“Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone structure. It helps fight deionism and osteoporosis.”, explains Dr. Yves Fouré, general practitioner. In fact, vitamin D is involved in the functioning of bone metabolism. Promotes intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus. With his action, that participates in bone stabilization, good disorganization of teeth and muscles. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the main form of vitamin D in humans: it accounts for 80 to 90% of vitamin D intake (in which it is often equated). The other form of vitamin D is vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
The blood dosage of vitamin D has long been prescribed to verify the proper absorption of calcium by the body, especially in people with bone and tooth problems and the elderly. “But today, this dosage is recognized as useless by epidemiological studies. In fact, the vast majority of the population has vitamin D deficiency, so this dosage does not teach much “, says Dr. Fouré. In fact, the High Authority for Health drafted a report in 2013 in which it stressed that the usefulness of this dosage has not been proven, in most cases.
It is still recommended to dose in these cases:
- monitoring after kidney transplantation,
- obesity monitoring in adults
- monitoring of the elderly who are prone to falls.
- Dosage may also support the diagnosis of rickets or bone desalination, in order to better determine the cause of these pathologies, or to check the effectiveness of certain treatments, especially against osteoporosis.
The sun remains the main source of vitamin D.
A concentration of vitamin D in the blood of less than 20 nanograms per mL of blood is considered insufficient. Deficiency is defined by one vitamin D levels below 12 nanograms per mL of blood. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to
- A bone loss (associated with an abnormality in bone growth) and an increase in its fragility causing rickets and fractures. This reduction in bone mass promotes the risk of fracture. This risk is especially high when physical activity is reduced or absent.
- From muscle pain and weakness can cause falls in the elderly.
- Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to fatigue.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common in mainland France, especially in late winter and early spring. According to the National Nutrition Study (2012), 80% of French people are affected. Many studies have shown that French women over 50 are Europeans who are most deficient in vitamin D. Serious deficits are rarer (about 5%) and most often affect the elderly. “Should complete all women from the age of 50, and all from the age of 75. This is even more necessary for sleeping people, for example in Ehpad “, adds Dr. Fouré.
According to ANSES, the risk of vitamin D deficiency is higher in some people:
- the elderly
- people with dark or dark skin, for whom the synthesis of vitamin D through sun exposure is less effective,
- postmenopausal women, whose hormonal disorder can lead to bone degeneration, which increases the risk of fracture.
Overdose can have detrimental effects on the heart and kidneys.
The recommended dose is one ampoule of 100,000 units every two months, in periods of low sunlight (or 600 to 800 units per day). “Surprisingly, an overdose of vitamin D can lead to weakened bones.”, says Yves Fouré. This is called hypervitaminosis. “The use of dietary supplements containing vitamin D can be exposed to extremely high intakes, which can cause hypercalcaemia – high levels of calcium in the bloodstream causing calcification of certain tissues and therefore have cardiological and renal consequences.“, adds ANSES on its website in its article of April 17, 2020. In any case, The use of dietary supplements should be done with a nutritional or medical indication.
The sun and its ultraviolet rays are the main source of vitamin D. “Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin under the action of the sun. But beware, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of skin cancer.”, warns Dr. Fouré.
• In spring, 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure on the hands, forearms and face ensures daily intake of vitamin D.
With the sun, food is the other source of vitamin D. It is found in large amounts in cod liver oil, for example, “but it would be necessary to absorb liters and liters to make a satisfactory contribution. The sun remains the richest source,” points out our interlocutor.
The foods that are richest in vitamin D are:
- Fatty fish such as herring, sardines, salmon or mackerel
- Organ meat, especially liver
- Dairy products, especially those fortified with vitamin D.
- Butter and margarine
ANSES reminds us that it is important to differentiate and balance our diet throughout the year and to consume these foods regularly to meet our daily needs for vitamin D. The good point of reference: eat two servings of fish a week, including one serving of fatty fish. Ideally, you prefer fresh fish, but if that’s not possible, bet on canned sardines, herring, mackerel naturally.
Thanks to Dr. Yves Fouré, general practitioner. Sources: “News, Restriction: Ensuring adequate supply of vitamin D through food “, Anses, published on 17 April 2020.