When we talk about vitamin D, we are not referring to a specific substance or vitamin. Scientists use the term more or less as a generic term for a group of fat-soluble vitamins – the so-called calciferols. The most important forms include vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
The human body can only form vitamin D under the influence of light, UV-B radiation. This is why vitamin D is often called “the sun hormone” in advertising.
How can vitamin D stores be replenished?
In summer, it is relatively easy to replenish one’s vitamin D stores. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends exposing the face, hands, arms and legs to the sun for a total of 5 to 25 minutes a day. The vitamin D produced by the body in this way can be stored in the body and is usually sufficient for supply in Germany during the winter months of October to March. A daily walk of 20 minutes can also cover the requirement.
Vitamin D can only be inadequately supplied through the diet. The BfR has published a table listing the vitamin D content of some common vitamin D-rich foods. These include herring, salmon, mackerel, chicken egg yolk, margarine, chanterelles and mushrooms.
Why is vitamin D important for the body?
We need it especially for our bones. Because thanks to vitamin D, our body can absorb calcium from food. This hardens bones and teeth, for example. It also influences muscle strength and is important for metabolic processes. Deficiency in adults can lead to deformed bones, pain and loss of muscle strength.
According to Stiftung Warentest, a deficiency also increases the risk of developing osteoporosis – a weakening of the bones. In infants and children, a deficiency carries the risk of rickets, which is a serious disorder of bone growth, which can lead to permanent deformation of the skeleton.
How high should the vitamin D level be?
The German Nutrition Society recommends a level of at least 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood (equivalent to 50 nanomoles per liter for old measurements) to maintain bone health. This recommendation applies to all ages from one year of age. Diet alone can only cover about twenty percent of the vitamin D requirement. It also requires regular exposure to sunlight, which is particularly problematic in winter, or taking a vitamin D supplement.
What are the possible consequences of a vitamin D deficiency?
The liver and kidneys produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. If vitamin D is lacking, calcium and phosphate levels drop. A severe vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in children, and in adults to a lack of bone density and later to osteoporosis.
Tiredness, fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle pain, and frequent infections can be symptoms of low vitamin D levels. The family doctor can check the vitamin D level, but the costs of just under 30 euros are only covered by health insurance in justified exceptional cases. If there is an undersupply, vitamin D tablets should be administered in consultation with the doctor.
– What can be done about vitamin D deficiency?
How to cover your vitamin D requirements
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is around 20 micrograms per day. But what food portions will help you meet this requirement? Also if you want to take vitamin d3 20000 iu it‘s totally safe .
Here are some examples:
– 100 grams of eel
– 80 to 90 grams of herring
– 4 egg yolks (e.g. as an omelet)
People who eat animal foods usually do cover their needs. People who do not eat animal products at all find it more difficult to cover their vitamin D requirements.
Fruits and vegetables, with the exception of mushrooms, contain negligible amounts. In addition, plant foods contain only vitamin D2 – the less effective, plant-based counterpart to human and animal vitamin D3. Food choices for vegans must therefore be made with particular care.
Vitamin D: These foods are particularly rich!
Vitamin D is also known as the sun vitamin. Rightly so: after all, the body is able to produce it itself from sunlight. So in summer, we can’t avoid going outdoors regularly if we don’t want to risk a vitamin D deficiency.
Those who regularly let the sun shine on their skin also replenish their vitamin D stores. The body draws on these in winter, when sunlight is scarce.
In addition, experts recommend regularly consuming foods with vitamin D – even if the diet only makes a small contribution to meeting requirements. To do this, however, you first need to know: What foods contain vitamin D, and in appreciable amounts?
Cod liver oil used to be considered the vitamin D-rich food par excellence. It is fatty oil extracted from the liver and kidneys of marine animals. In fact, cod liver oil contains a comparatively large amount of the sunshine vitamin. However, it does not taste particularly delicious.
Fortunately, there are alternatives – although not very many. It is mainly animal foods that have a relevant vitamin D supply. But there are also some plant foods with vitamin D:
Vitamin D: storage and processing tips.
Vitamin D is heat stable and is preserved during cooking at temperatures up to 180 degrees Celsius. Fatty vitamin D foods such as fortified margarine or cooking oils are therefore well suited for preparing vitamin D-containing hot dishes.