People at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency

 

The vitamin D is a micronutrient with important implications for Health of people. Among other functions, it helps to strengthen the bone health and researchers have discovered important links to the Covid-19.

Numerous investigations support that having optimal levels of vitamin D could reduce the risk of a worse prognosis in case of infection by Covid-19. Although, there is also a certain association with the prevention of diabetes, high blood pressure or colon cancer.

Thus, one of the main sources of vitamin D is the sun. Therefore, summer is an ideal time of year to increase the values ​​of this micronutrient thanks to the exposure of the skin to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Although, experts recommend taking the sun with caution to avoid harmful damage and adequately increase the values ​​of this vitamin.

In addition, by consuming certain foods, such as fatty fish, avocados, mushrooms, egg yolks or fortified cereals, we can also raise vitamin D levels. Supplements are also an option.

People at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is very common in European and Spanish society. Studies carried out in Spain during the pandemic conclude that more than half of Spaniards have a lack of this micronutrient.

vitamin D test
Test

Thus, there are certain people who are at greater risk of developing vitamin D deficiency due to a number of specific factors:

  • Nursing babies, since human milk is not a good source of this micronutrient.
  • Older adults have a harder time metabolizing vitamin D after sunbathing. Let’s say that the body does not have the same ability to convert this vitamin to its active form.
  • People with dark skin are less able to produce vitamin D after exposure to the sun.
  • People with disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, as they do not properly absorb fat from food. And it is that vitamin D requires fat for its proper absorption.
  • People with obesity.
  • People who take medications whose components affect the metabolism of vitamin D. In this context we find cholestyramine, glucocorticoids or antifungals.

In addition, people with osteoporosis, kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, with different types of cancer or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are also at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Adequate dose of vitamin D

Thus, it is important to have optimal levels of vitamin D. Some experts point out that having adequate levels of this vitamin can save lives, due to the multiple implications it has on the human body.

Therefore, the National Institute of Health of the United States establishes a guide with the sufficient dose that each person needs to consume to have appropriate levels of this vitamin daily; depending on factors such as age and sex:

Stage of life Recommended amount
Babies up to 12 months of age 10 mcg (400 IU)
Children 1 to 13 years of age 15 mcg (600 IU)
Adolescents 14 to 18 years of age 15 mcg (600 IU)
Adults 19 to 70 years of age 15 mcg (600 IU)
Adults over 71 years of age 20 mcg (800 IU)
Pregnant and lactating women 15 mcg (600 IU)

However, the world’s leading vitamin D experts such as Dr. Michael Holick take 6,000 IU daily to maintain an optimal level of this vitamin throughout the year, which is a dose 10 times higher than that indicated by the National Institute of Social Security.

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