May 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

What vitamin is produced by the sun?


Consuming vitamins helps the human body on many levels, but there is one specific one that can be obtained from exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” contributes to many functions, the most important of which is bone metabolism. Its existence is so important that low levels in the body lead to muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression.

The peculiarity of this vitamin compared to others is that its absorption depends not only on a diet with fortified foods, but mainly on exposure to the sun. It is additionally used in the treatment of osteoporosis as it is believed to provide significant benefits to musculoskeletal health.

What exactly is vitamin D? It is known that it was discovered back in 1922 by the American scientist McCollum and was initially considered only as vitamin, now it is classified as a hormone-like substance. Vitamin D is fat soluble and best absorbed with fatty foods and accumulates in adipose tissue.
Large amounts of vitamin D are found mainly in animal foods: fatty fish (salmon, catfish, mackerel, sardines, tuna), fish roe, egg yolk and dairy products. Also, small amounts of it are found in red caviar, oysters, forest mushrooms and seeds.
Vitamin D is unique in that it is the only vitamin that It is produced in the body independently, under the influence of UV rays of the sun. Its main role is to help absorb calcium and phosphorus from food. In children, vitamin D prevents the development of rickets, a disease associated with impaired bone development and softening. In adolescents and adults, vitamin D prevents the development of caries and gum pathologies, protects against osteoporosis (softening of bone tissue due to lack of calcium), and accelerates the healing of fractures. Vitamin D also increases resistance to viral diseases, which is extremely important, especially when your baby first goes to kindergarten and begins to get sick often.

Vitamin D deficiency leads to leaching of calcium and phosphorus from bones. In childhood, rickets develops due to vitamin D deficiency; in adults, softening of bone tissue (osteomalacia) and thinning of bone tissue (osteoporosis) develop. Vitamin deficiency is especially dangerous in the first year of a child’s life, when rapid bone tissue growth occurs. Currently, scientists are suggesting the impact of vitamin D deficiency on the development of cancer, as well as autoimmune, infectious, viral and cardiovascular diseases.

How to get vitamin D? It would seem as simple as shelling pears: you need good nutrition and staying outdoors in the sun, and the issue is resolved! However, there are pitfalls here. As studies have shown, the amount of vitamin D in foods is an unstable value. For example, when examining milk from the same manufacturer, the vitamin D content in different batches fluctuated and could be less than declared within 20 IU. That is why in In some countries, manufacturers additionally fortify milk and dairy products with vitamin D.

In order for the body to produce enough vitamin, it is necessary to be with the face and limbs open to the sun's rays in the midday sun (between 10 am and 3 pm) twice a week. For people with fair skin, five minutes is enough; dark-skinned people should stay in the sun for at least half an hour.
However, for some children, only good nutrition and sunbathing are not enough to compensate for the deficiency of vitamin D in the body. Children suffering from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, overweight, living in regions where there is little sunlight, who move little, with dark skin, as well as those who do not want to stay in the sun – all of them are at risk for deficiency. vitamin D



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