Vitamin D plays a major role in our health and more and more research into vitamin D underlines the importance of healthy vitamin D levels. Some headlines of the latest scientific studies on vitamin D via Pubmed look like this:
See here all Vitamin D publications on Pubmed
The winter blues
Who doesn't know the winter blues? The days are getting shorter, there is less sunlight and our thoughts are becoming less sunny. A shorter day and a less strong sun means that we in the Netherlands cannot produce vitamin D from sunlight between November and April. During this period, vitamin D levels drop and are only supplemented sparingly through food. People who slowly lose weight in the winter, which is normal in nature due to food scarcity, also release vitamin D that is stored in fat. Nowadays there is a very high chance that a vitamin D deficiency will develop during the cold months. People with dark skin and people who spend a lot of time indoors are even more likely to be deficient in the sunshine vitamin.
Low vitamin D and depression
In addition to the gloomy thoughts caused by the bad weather, a lack of vitamin D plays a major role in depression. In short, vitamin D ensures a stronger immune system and makes us more susceptible to diseases and inflammatory reactions that come with it. Inflammatories prevent the release of serotonin and a deficiency changes the thought pattern into something you can call depression. Vitamin D can therefore (partly) play a role in depression
Weaker immune system
In addition to depression, a weaker immune system can also give free rein to other (already present) conditions. Consider, for example, psoriasis and MS. The brain, muscles, heart, pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, skin, intestines, ovaries, uterus, placenta, breast and prostate all need vitamin D to function properly. Many disorders of these organs can be related to a low vitamin D level. Autoimmune diseases, Bone disorders, Chronic pain, intestinal disorders, Diabetes type 2, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, cancer and PMS can all occur (partly) due to a chronic vitamin D deficiency. Even the risk of a fatal infection due to Corona and other viruses can be reduced by preventing a vitamin D deficiency. This is probably also a reason why viruses like the flu are more common during the winter.
Increase vitamin D
UV-B radiation from sunlight or tanning beds provides the most vitamin D. UV radiation has both positive and negative properties and it is therefore wise not to have too much, but certainly not too little, exposure to UV light. During the winter months, dosed tanning is more of an advantage than a disadvantage, but don't overdo it by choosing the strongest tanning bed and the longest duration. If the sun is strong enough, during the period May - October in the Netherlands, fifteen to half an hour in the sun is often enough for the daily dose of vitamin D.
Although getting enough vitamin D through diet is difficult, every little bit can help. Oily fish and mushrooms exposed to UV light contain vitamin D in relatively high concentrations. Vitamin D is found in very low concentrations in eggs, meat and other animal products.
The easiest way to get enough vitamin D during the dark days is to buy a supplement with vitamin D. The recommended daily dose is between 10 and 20 micrograms (400-800 IU). A lot of supplements are dosed higher than the recommended daily dose. The maximum recommended daily dose is 100 micrograms (4000 IU). 25 micrograms (1000 IU) per day is therefore more than sufficient during the dark days.