How to Get Vitamin D Without the Sun

Although the sun’s rays seem more powerful as early as February, the tilt of the earth does not allow the body to produce its own vitamin D in winter, at least in our latitude. How do I compensate?


What is vitamin D?

Vitamin and pro-hormone, vitamin D is essential to the health of bones and teeth, as it plays an essential role in the metabolism of calcium in the body. It regulates the blood level, notably by improving the intestinal absorption of this mineral. It also minimizes its elimination, via urine. It also helps to depose and remove calcium from the bones, depending on the needs of the skeletal mass and the muscles of your body.


A vitamin D factory

The human body produces 80 to 90 percent of the vitamin D it needs when exposed to the sun’s UV rays (late spring to early fall). To do this, an exposure of the arms and legs, or arms and face, for 15 to 25 minutes, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., for example, is enough for the body to make. However, people with dark skin should be exposed longer.

Experts even suggest exposing yourself two to three times a week to make and store sufficient amounts of this essential vitamin for your body. However, they recommend avoiding sunburn, harmful, and sunscreens, which reduces the beneficial effects of UV rays. As for tanning beds, they cannot provide the necessary vitamin D for your body.

Ironically, dermatologists recommend protecting yourself from the sun, wearing a hat, putting on sunscreen. What can I do? The dilemma remains.


And winter

While the sun is a major contributor to helping our bodies make vitamin D, it is sorely absent in winter. You will need to get enough vitamin to meet your needs.

You will find, commercially, specific products that will provide you with the necessary daily dose… It ranges from 200 international units (IU) for people under 50, 400 for people aged 50 to 70, 600 for those aged 71 and over and pregnant women. Those who breastfeed should consume 800 of them daily.

However, researchers do not agree on the amounts needed to keep our bodies healthier. Some, such as the Canadian Cancer Association, suggest 1000 IU per day, while others do not hesitate to prescribe 50,000 IU per week to replenish reserves. This last amount should only be consumed under medical supervision.

It is also possible, even pleasant, to get this essential supplement during your meals, using dietary supplements. Cod liver oil remains the perfect product to get your weekly ration. Many species of fish (sardine, cod, tuna, salmon) are foods rich in vitamin D,as are fortified milk, eggs and vitamin orange juice.


Benefits of Vitamin D

Consumed regularly, vitamin D would also be a good tool, as would light therapy, to treat seasonal affective disorder in some people. It has been shown to be an effective mood stimulant. Better yet, it would slow down the aging of the skin…

It would also help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50% and colon cancer by 66%. It would also have a beneficial impact on prostate cancer and even longevity. However, the conclusions of the studies to this effect are still disputed.


Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious health problems. Of course, we know that it is essential for bone and tooth health, but recent epidemiological research has linked vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

It can also lead to demineralizing osteopathy, osteoporosis and even increased infections in adults. In children and adolescents, it can be the cause of rickets. A recent study even claims that its absence is one of the causes of overweight, in addition to causing “undesirable” fat accumulations in adulthood.

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Dr. Med. Raoul Hasert is a specialist in dermatology and venereology. He is a senior physician in Praxisklinik Dr. Hasert.

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