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Nine Facts You Need To Know About Vitamin D

In times of a pandemic and the emergence of new diseases, the population must be protected and with their health rates controlled.

Several studies worldwide have shown the fundamental role of vitamin D in the modulation of innate immunity, being able to attack aggressive agents to prevent its advancement and multiplication within the body.

With these questions in mind, neurologist, ophthalmologist, a researcher on vitamin D and professor at the ABC School of Medicine, answers the main questions on the subject:

1. What Is Vitamin D, And What Is It Used For?

Vitamin D is a micronutrient that, among other functions in the body, plays a role in the functioning of the immune system, assists in the absorption of calcium and plays a vital role in the balance of blood sugar. It acts as a multifunctional hormone since several cells and tissues have receptors for vitamin synthesis. The deficiency of this vitamin is linked to several diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

2. Do I Need To Take Vitamin D? How Much Do We Need?

Studies show that 77% of the population has vitamin D below 20ng/ml, which is insufficient. And adequate levels of vitamin D are significant for maintaining health. The ideal dose for each patient varies according to their profile. When there is a deficiency, it is possible to make a higher initial loading dose, to improve the supply of this vitamin. Then, amounts are maintained that may vary according to each patient’s condition. It is essential to consult a doctor to understand your needs.

3. Is There A Risk Group For Lack Of Vitamin D?

We are living a recognized pandemic of hypovitaminosis D¹², scientifically proven, so we all have to pay attention to this, but especially the elderly, pregnant women, lactating women, bariatric patients or patients with rickets, osteomalacia, hyperparathyroidism, inflammatory diseases, immune diseases, chronic kidney disease, among others. Situations that deserve greater attention to the blood levels of this vitamin in the body. 

4. What Is The Proper Way To Obtain Good Levels Of Vitamin D?

For the formation of vitamin D in the body to be adequate, it is necessary to be exposed to the sun for at least 15 minutes daily, preferably between 10 am and 2 pm, when UV rays are most present, responsible for activating the metabolism of vitamin D formation. D from the skin, with at least the arms uncovered – the greater the area of ​​exposure of the body to sunlight, the better -without sunscreens, which hinder the activation of the metabolic pathways of vitamin D formation.

The routine of big cities does not always allow vitamin D synthesis by sunlight. However, it is possible to absorb the vitamin in a few foods, such as fatty fish, cod liver oil and dried mushrooms. Milk, eggs and beef liver also have the vitamin, but smaller amounts. It is also an exciting alternative to replace vitamin D through supplementation. In a scientific study that we carried out at the Faculdade de Medicina do ABC in partnership with Unifesp, we observed that medical students who exercised in indoor courts had vitamin D levels around 40% lower than their colleagues who exercised outdoors. Furthermore, the average vitamin D level in the court group was insufficient, despite having a good diet, so supplementation is essential.

5. So, Are There Supplements That Replace Food And Sun Exposure?

For those cases in which the combination of sun exposure and food is not enough, it is possible to use vitamin D supplements – based on medical advice – to replace or even maintain optimal levels of the vitamin in the body. Body.

6. What Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause?

A lack of it can increase your risk of heart problems, osteoporosis, some cancers, colds and flu, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and diabetes. In pregnant women, vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of preterm birth and favor preeclampsia. Several studies have already shown that people who live in urban environments are more deficient in vitamin D. They spend long periods indoors. They do not expose themselves to the sun.

7. Is Vitamin D Required To Be Regulated During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

A recent Italian study, carried out by scientists at the University of Turin, points out that patients who Covid-19 has infected have low levels of vitamin D. It is not a matter of prevention but of having the immune system working correctly. As vitamin D has scientifically proven immunomodulatory action, it is essential to maintain adequate levels at this time.

8. So, Is Vitamin D Support In The Treatment Of Covid-19, But Not A Cure, As It Helps With Immunity?

Yes, vitamin D at adequate levels certainly helps keep the body’s resistance up to date. As we do not yet have antibodies to this virus, the body’s main line of attack occurs through innate immunity, which is modulated by vitamin D, hence its great importance for the defense of our body.

9. Does Vitamin D Supplementation Play A Role In Determining The Severity Of A Coronavirus Infection?

According to the former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infections, regulates cytokine production and may limit the risk associated with other viruses, such as influenza. . But whether vitamin D plays any role in the level of severity of Covid-19 infection is not yet known.

Given the prevalence of hypovitaminosis-D, he points out that it is safe to recommend that people take daily doses of the vitamin. It is difficult to obtain these doses from sun exposure and diet alone, especially among some population groups. Modern habits lead the population to spend much of the day indoors (at home, offices, factories, etc.), and few foods are rich in vitamin D.

ALSO READ: WHAT IS HEALTHY EATING?

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