We go through the days when the winter season shows its full effect with its sharp cold. During busy winter days, experts warn about vitamin D deficiency. Because the risk of disease increases rapidly in the deficiency of vitamin D produced with the effect of sun rays.
UVB rays, which also cause sunburn, are responsible for the process of producing vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D is produced when exposed to the sun’s rays in the absence of an external supplement. Decreasing sunlight in winter reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D.
People in areas with low sunlight have to struggle with low vitamin D levels. At the same time, the skin of people with dark skin also produces low levels of vitamin D. Pigments in the skin of people with dark skin prevent UVB rays from producing vitamin D. For this reason, people with dark skin are those who have at least vitamin D levels in the winter months.
During the winter, adults should take at least 600 IU of vitamin D with supplementary foods. People who have dark skin and cannot benefit from sunlight sufficiently should turn to supplements to get more vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained as a supplement from oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and dairy products.
Vitamin D is essential for bones and beneficial bacteria
Researchers initially thought that vitamin D was important for bone health. Studies on diseases such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults have brought researchers to this point. However, studies conducted in the 1980s revealed that intestinal cells have vitamin D receptors.
Recent research has determined that vitamin D is important in maintaining many body systems, from digestion to circulation. Insufficient levels of vitamin D open up inflammatory bowel diseases and lung infections. Studies have revealed that inflammatory bowel diseases are more common in winter, when the vitamin D level is lower in Japan.
Vitamin D also helps the beneficial bacteria in the gut function properly. Vitamin D increases both the number and variety of these bacteria in the gut.
How much vitamin D should we take in winter?
Experts are divided into different views on how much vitamin D adults should take during the winter months. While some experts recommend taking 200 UI and 2000 UI vitamin D per day; Medical Institutes in the U.S. recommend that an adult take 600-800 UI of vitamin D per day. The Endocrine Society recommends taking 1500 to 2000 UI of vitamin D.
While insufficient vitamin D causes diseases, excess vitamin D causes other problems. Experts state that an adult should not take more than 4000 UI of vitamin D per day.
Vitamin D provides the acceleration of calcium absorption. However, taking too high levels of vitamin D will increase the level of calcium in the blood to higher levels than it should be. A high amount of calcium can cause various kidney diseases.
It is possible to protect against diseases by keeping the vitamin D level at an optimum level in the winter months. Vitamin D, which cannot be taken due to insufficient sunlight, can be complemented with supplemented foods. The ideal vitamin D level will play an important role in the fight against infections.