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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Use sunscreen? Perhaps breaking vitamin D

Sunscreens protect the skin against harmful UV rays of the sun, but it can also have negative effects on the amount of vitamin D that your body gets through sunlight.

What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which promotes the absorption of calcium,which is essential for normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. Also known as "solar vitamin", vitamin E is produced by the body once it is exposed to sunlight.


By how much do we need?

For children
American Academy of Pediatrics recently doubled its recommended dose for the minimum amount of vitamin D that babies, children and teenagers should be taken daily. The new recommendation includes at least 400 IU (International Units). It is important to talk to the doctor about your child's needs for vitamin D.


For adult

The recommended daily dose is currently 200 IU for those aged between 19 and 50, 400 IU for people between 51 and 69, and the elderly over 69 years should receive 600 IU. However, research supports the growing belief that our body needs more vitamin D in the 1000 IU. Some doctors recommend even larger quantities,so it is important to consult with your doctor to find the right dosage for you.


What are the benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for the health of teeth and bones, regardless of age. It is essential to help your body regulate calcium and phosphorus in the best way for you to have strong, healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps in the fight against osteoporosis. It can also act as a hormone, so it is vital for the health of blood vessels and brain function.

Several recent studies suggest that vitamin D may play a crucial role in heart health, respiratory system and immune function.


What are the risks of vitamin D deficiency?

It is believed that the blood level of less than 50 nmol / L indicates a deficiency of vitamin D in the elderly. In children, the level which indicates deficit of 25 nmol / L.Your doctor can verify exactly what and give you guidance.

When the body is experiencing a shortage of vitamin E, it is unable to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus. If the levels of these minerals in the blood become too low, the other hormones in the body can stimulate the release ofcalcium and phosphorus from bones into blood system.

In adults: Deficiency of vitamin D may have a negative impact on bone and heart health.

In children: Too little vitamin D can lead to rachitis, a progressive softening and weakening of the bone structure.


Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?Studies show that 80% of people in the U.S. do not get enough vitamin D, and some of them are at especially high risk of deficiency, including:
  • Older people - aging skin loses its ability to convert vitamin D
  • People who stay home alone
  • People in the northern regions, especially in the winter months. The greater the distance to the equator, the less direct solar radiation we receive.
  • People who cover their bodies for religious reasons
  • Those whose jobs do not involve exposure to sunlight
  • People who have dark skin: African-Americans and Hispanics. Dark pigmented skin does not produce much vitamin thanks to the sunlight.
  • People who do not drink milk or eat foods rich in vitamin D
  • People with impaired hepatic or renal function
  • Pregnant women. They must take special care to ensure that you will become deficient in vitamin D. Human milk contains little vitamin D, and mothers who are deficient in vitamin D, would provide very few nutrients to newborns.
What are the sources of vitamin D?

1. Sunlight - we can get vitamin D through skin exposure to sunlight. 10-15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is sufficient to ensure a stable level of vitamin D. But the truth is that very few people can get enough vitamin D from sunlight only.

2. Food - Vitamin D occurs naturally in these foods, fish, milk and other dairyproducts, butter, cream corn.

3. Dietary supplements - there are many supplements that provide vitamin D.They are a great alternative if you do not get enough of it through diet and sun. Always consult with your doctor before you use them.