5 important reasons why we need vitamin D
Many of us have heard the good advice to supplement with extra vitamin D during the winter months, but not everyone knows why. In this article, we list five important reasons why vitamin D is good for all of us.
1. Vitamin D is difficult to get enough of
The sun is our absolute largest source of vitamin D, but in northern Europe, we often only have enough hours of sunshine to benefit from this between April and September. People who use a lot of sunscreen or full-coverage clothing can also have difficulty getting the vitamin through the sun. In the diet, vitamin D is found mainly in oily fish, egg yolks and fortified dairy and margarine products, and you must eat these foods fairly regularly to get a sufficient amount.
2. Vitamin D contributes to a normal immune system
You have probably heard that vitamin D contributes to a normal immune system, and this is accepted today. There are several studies that have shown the connection between normal vitamin D levels and a lower incidence of infectious diseases.
3. Vitamin D contributes to normal muscle function
Studies have shown that too low levels of vitamin D can cause muscle weakness, which would be due to the vitamin's interaction with the mineral calcium. Calcium contributes to a normal muscle function, with mainly the muscles' ability to contract (tension) being significant. Vitamin D in turn helps to regulate the calcium levels in the body, so it is very important not only to eat calcium-rich products, but also to make sure you get vitamin D.
4. Vitamin D Contributes to the maintenance of the teeth and bone structure
Our teeth and bones are largely made up of the mineral calcium, which builds up during our childhood. When we grow up, the breakdown of the bone structure begins, and calcium then helps to maintain bone mass. As vitamin D helps regulate calcium balance, it is a crucial factor in preserving bone structure.
5. Low vitamin D levels can lead to a lower mood
The fact that the absence of sun in the winter can make us depressed and irritated is something we likely all have experienced at some point. Much of it is probably due to the fact that we lack light, but several studies have also been done to investigate the connection between depression and vitamin D deficiency. Too low levels of vitamin D have been shown to affect the mood and frequency of irritation, although more studies are needed to clarify the connection between them.
To get enough vitamin D, we need to stay in the sun for about 20 minutes without sunscreen or full clothing, after which you can of course use sunscreen to avoid getting burned. During periods when you are not spending enough time in the sun, you should make sure to eat plenty of fatty fish, fortified dairy products and eggs, or take a supplement. The National Food Administration's recommendation is to get at least 10 mcg of vitamin D per day, and most of us have levels that are too low during the winter.
Prevention of nonvertebral fractures with oral vitamin D and dose dependence: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. HA Bischoff-Ferrari, WC Willett, JB Wong, AE Stuck, HB Staehlin, EJ Orav, A Thoma, DP Kiel, J Henschkowski. 2009
Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. JJ Cannell, R Vieth, JC Umhau, MF Holick, WB Grant, S Madronich, CF Garland, E Giovannucci. 2006