Vitamin D: what you need to know – 2022
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract and hardens bones. It influences muscle strength, regulates calcium and phosphate metabolism and is also involved in other metabolic processes in the body. Health…
Vitamin D: what you need to know – 2022
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract and hardens bones. It influences muscle strength, regulates calcium and phosphate metabolism and is also involved in other metabolic processes in the body. Vitamin D is formed in humans under the influence of sunlight in the skin. In contrast to the body’s own formation, vitamin D intake through nutrition only accounts for a relatively small proportion of the vitamin D supply. As an estimate for an appropriate intake, the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE) offers 20 micrograms of vitamin D per day for children, adolescents and adults. This value applies in the absence of endogenous formation.
A general fortification of foods with vitamin D is not recommended. The focus is on the body’s own formation of vitamin D and thus the recommendation to form and store vitamin D through sun exposure of the skin. The body’s own formation varies from person to person and is dependent on other factors such as latitude and season. It is recommended that you spend a total of about 5 to 25 minutes a day in the sun with your face, hands and major parts of your arms and legs uncovered. Taking vitamin D preparations is only recommended if a targeted improvement in supply, especially in risk groups, cannot be achieved either through diet or through the body’s own vitamin D formation through exposure to the sun.
What is vitamin D and why does the body need vitamin D?
Vitamin D occupies a special position among the vitamins. In contrast to other vitamins, vitamin D can be formed itself from precursors that are present in the body. The body’s own formation takes place through sunlight exposure of the skin (UVB light exposure) and makes a significantly greater contribution to supplying humans with this vitamin than vitamin D intake through food. Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphate metabolism and thus promotes hardening of the bones. Vitamin D is also involved in other metabolic processes in the body and also influences muscle strength.
How much vitamin D does a person need and how can the vitamin D supply be determined?
The reference value for vitamin D intake is 20 micrograms per day if the body does not produce it itself. This estimated value, derived from studies by the DGE, applies to all age groups from the age of one year. If you stay outdoors regularly, under normal living conditions in this country, the body’s own (endogenous) formation in the skin contributes 80 to 90 percent to the vitamin D supply.
In contrast, the vitamin D intake through the diet with the usual foods only accounts for a relatively small proportion (10 to 20 percent) of the vitamin D supply. Therefore, recording them is not suitable for assessing the actual state of supply. The concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood serum is used as a marker for assessing the supply, because this reflects the vitamin D intake through nutrition and the body’s own vitamin D formation.
A vitamin D deficiency is defined as a serum concentration of the marker 25-hydroxyvitamin D below 30 nanomoles per liter of serum (30 nmol/l). This corresponds to 12 nanograms per milliliter of serum (12 ng/ml). One speaks of a good vitamin D supply in relation to bone health when the blood concentration of this marker is at least 50 nanomoles per liter of serum. This corresponds to 20 nanograms per milliliter. If the body does not produce vitamin D, this concentration is reached with a daily intake of 20 micrograms of vitamin D.
Since a large proportion of the healthy German population cannot be assumed to have a vitamin D deficiency, the determination of the vitamin D supply should only be carried out if there is reasonable suspicion of a deficiency situation or in persons at risk.
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