Vitamin D fact checkSunlight helps humans produce their own vitamin D, which is why it is often referred to as the "sun hormone. The hormone vitamin D performs many tasks in the human organism. Some even see it as a remedy in the fight against Covid-19. But what lies behind it. Why is vitamin D so important for us humans? Prof. Dr. Brigitte Mayinger is head physician at the Clinic for Gastroenterology, Diabetology and General Internal Medicine at Helios Klinikum Munchen West and explains why our body needs sunlight to produce the vitamin and how to prevent a deficiency.
Why does the body need vitamin D?
The fat-soluble vitamin D is important, among other things, for the Calcium balance and bone mineralization. "The best-known effect is on bone metabolism. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and phosphate from the intestines and promotes incorporation into bones and teeth," says chief medical officer Prof. Mayinger.
In addition, it has a positive influence on Muscle strength and the ability to coordinate. In addition, it is amed that vitamin D can increase the human immune system assists in the defense against pathogens.
The best known effect is on bone metabolism. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and phosphate from the intestines and promotes incorporation into bones and teeth.
How does the body obtain vitamin D?
Circa 80 to 90 percent of the vitamin D requirement the body produces itself with the help of Sunlight – it is the most important source for the human vitamin D supply. The remaining 10 to 20 percent should be covered by a conscious diet.
Food supplements are only suitable if an improvement of the vitamin D level can neither be achieved by self-synthesis, nor through the diet. It is important that before General practitioner's advice is caught up, in order to avoid an overdose of the hormone.
Covering the daily requirement of vitamin D
The vitamin B requirement is determined, on the one hand, by the Own production of the body, but also by proper diet covered. "It is best to go outdoors as often as possible in order to stimulate vitamin D production. It is sufficient to keep the face, hands and forearms uncovered in the sun for five to 25 minutes, depending on skin type. Especially in spring, the vitamin D store must be replenished," recommends Prof. Brigitte Mayinger.
In the months from October to March, the sun's rays are not strong enough in Germany for the body to be able to rely on vitamin D. This is why it is important to take vitamin D supplements beforehand reserves from the last summer months falls back. The result: the accumulated vitamin D level sinks and gradually empties out.
Especially suitable in this period Foods high in vitamin D in the diet. This includes fatty fish such as rollmops, sardines, herring or wild salmon. But also dairy products, margarine, porcini mushrooms or eggs are rich in vitamin D and should be on the plate more often.
It is best to go outdoors as often as possible to stimulate vitamin D production. It is sufficient to keep the face, hands and forearms uncovered in the sun for five to 25 minutes, depending on the skin type.
What happens in the case of vitamin D deficiency?
If the body lacks vitamin D over a long period of time, deficiency occurs. The consequence is that various processes in the body no longer run smoothly, among other things it can lead to Complaints as
– hair loss, – fatigue, – impaired vision, – headaches, – sleep disorders, – concentration problems, and – joint and bone pain.
"In the case of a long-term undersupply, the Decrease bone density. In the worst case, this leads to bone softening, known as osteomalacia," says Prof. Brigitte Mayinger. Elderly people in particular are at risk of developing a deficiency because the production of the hormone decreases with age.
A vitamin D deficiency can also affect muscle strength as well as coordination and reflexes. In old age, diseases such as osteoporosis or Alzheimer's disease may result.
Vitamin D supplements from the drugstore: What to look for?
It always makes sense to talk to the family doctor first. This can reduce the Determining vitamin D blood levels and find out whether it is necessary to take a preparation at all.
In addition, the values help to avoid an overdose of vitamin D. The general practitioner can also be of assistance with regard to Drug interactions advise and also recommend a suitable preparation.
Hints for taking vitamin D
The time of day does not play a role in the intake of vitamin D. "Vitamin D should be always together with fat This makes it easier to absorb and utilize the vitamins. Depending on the dosage form, i.e. drops, capsules or tablets, you can take the hormone with your cereal in the morning, for example," says prof. Brigitte Mayinger.
What happens when you overdose on vitamin D?
In the event of an overdose, it can lead to a Poisoning come. This increases calcium and phosphate levels in the body, which can lead to acute nausea and vomiting or, in the worst case, cardiac arrhythmias, kidney damage, unconsciousness and death.
Since a Overdosage through sun exposure and diet not possible is, care should be taken, especially with supplements, to avoid an excess of vitamin D. The human body does not simply excrete it, but Stores the hormone in fat and muscle tie, Where it accumulates.
Can vitamin D prevent corona infection?
"Vitamin D is not a drug that can cure or prevent Covid-19 disease," says Munich's chief medical officer.
Nevertheless, it can possibly have a positive effect on the course of the disease by enabling the organism to restore the balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory processes.
Vitamin D is not a drug that can be used to cure or prevent covid-19 disease.
Does vitamin D prevent severe corona progression?
In several studies, it has been observed that patients with Covid-19 and a Vitamin D deficiency often more severe. In addition, these are often elderly patients with at least one covid-19 relevant Previous illness such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
However, whether vitamin D administration after infection with Sars-CoV-2 protects against a severe course is not quite as straightforward to answer, as a direct connection not proven so far could be. Risk factors are often associated with low vitamin D levels, which could be a possible indicator of severe courses and mortality from covid 19 disease.
Since the hormone regulates the immune system and inflammatory processes in the body, it could also influence the course of disease. Thus, it is quite reasonable to establish the vitamin D supply in the case of corona disease could be controlled, to compensate for deficiencies.
"In general, it can be said that an adequate supply of vitamin D can make a positive influence on the general state of health has. And a good physical condition is of course also helpful with Covid-19. But there is no reason to believe that vitamin D pills are directly effective against corona virus," summarizes Prof. Brigitte Mayinger together.
3 tips to prevent vitamin D deficiency
1. Fill up with sunlight
Go outside and take every opportunity to expose your face, hands and forearms to sunlight. Pay attention to your skin type. Adjust the time accordingly. Usually as little as 15 minutes is enough to stimulate vitamin D production.
2. Vitamin D-rich diet
Eat foods rich in vitamin D. These include some herring, salmon and tuna, but also eggs, cheese, mushrooms and avocados.
3. Food supplements
Always consult your family doctor or pharmacist if you suspect a deficiency of the vitamin and want to take it in the form of food supplements. Too much vitamin D can be just as harmful as too little, so refrain from self-medication.