More than 1 billion people worldwide – one in seven people – suffer from some degree of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency. In the United Kingdom, research by a team led by Prof. Dr. Ana-Maria Borisova showed in 2012 that over 75% of the population has a deficiency or deficiency.
When do we talk about scarcity, and when about the deficit?
There are two scales for measuring vitamin levels in the body: one in nmol/l and the other in ng/ml. Since you will encounter results on both scales from different laboratories, there are calculators online to convert from one to the other. For convenience, I will use nmol/l (nanomole per liter). It is a deficiency at levels below 24 nmol/l, and between 25 and 49 nmol/l, it is a deficiency.
It is good that our levels are above 50 nmol/l, but this is not enough to be calm. It is necessary to consult a doctor whenever we have a test, not only for Vitamins but for any indicators. It is very important to consider the characteristics of our body – are we overweight or not, do we have any chronic problems, etc.?
What are the importance and functions of Vitamin?
In most people’s minds, Vitamin is only associated with the risk of rickets. In recent years, however, it has become clear that its importance for the body is much wider, and medicine is already informing doctors and the public about these discoveries. For example, it has been found that Vitamin interacts with the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
How do we get this important Vitamin?
The average person synthesizes 80-90% of the total amount of Vitamins from sunlight. Factors that affect the synthesis in the skin are the location in the world where we live (dose and intensity of UV-B rays, ozone, cloudy weather, atmospheric pollution), what part of the day we are outside, the seasons, the use of sunscreens products, the complexion of the skin, the clothing we wear.
Found that about 77% of the population in our country suffers from a lack or deficiency of Vitamin in winter (the lowest concentrations are in March and April) due to the inability to generate Vitamin in the skin during this part of the year in our geographical width.
We have about 260 sunny days a year. Why is this problem observed, then?
At first glance, it is strange, but this is the trend in other countries in southern Europe. They have a higher percentage of deficient people than northern people. It is explained by the fact that to avoid the harmful effects of solar radiation, we hide with hats, long sleeves, and trousers, and the further north a person lives, the more actively he seeks the sun at any time of the year.
And what should we do then? How do we compensate?
The need to obtain Vitamin through food sources is becoming more and more relevant, especially during the autumn-winter period, and also year-round given the sedentary indoor lifestyle, including in the months when there is active sunlight. In general: taking foods rich in Vitamin or fortified with it (also popular in the Nordic countries), plus nutritional supplements containing Vitamins.
And what is the recommended daily intake of Vitamin?
Since 2018, new standards for the recommended daily intake of Olimp Vitamin have been adopted in the United kingdom. Referrals increased three times! According to them, adults between the ages of 19 and 75 should take 15 micrograms daily. For infants, ten micrograms daily are recommended. Since most supplements on the market are in IU (international units), converted to this unit of measurement, it means:
- 15 micrograms = 600 IU
- 10 micrograms = 400 IU
Here again, I would like to emphasize the role of the doctor, who can prescribe another dose depending on the body’s needs. These doses are recommended for a person who is within the norm and has no deficiency or deficiency.
Are there people who are more at risk of such a deficiency?
Children and women. Vitamin deficiency in children predisposes them to frequent viral infections in winter, and children of women with vitamin deficiency during pregnancy are at increased risk for bronchial asthma and infectious lung diseases. There is experimental evidence that older people are less efficient producers of Vitamin than younger people.
And what is the relationship between obesity and this deficit?
Being overweight is characterized by reduced formation of the Vitamin in the skin, reduced absorption of the Vitamin from food, and slow conversion in the body into its active form. Overweight people are much less exposed to direct sunlight and lead.
If the deficiency is compensated, will it lead to weight loss and a healthy weight?
With a weight reduction of 5-10 percent, Vitamin in the blood (where it is already bioavailable, i.e., usable by the body) increases by 6-7 nmol/l, and with greater weight loss – by 12-13 nmol/ l. If a person is deficient, it is overcome.
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What signs suggest vitamin deficiency?
Lack of concentration, weakness, bad mood, headache, muscle, and joint pain. They seem like minor inconveniences that we can ignore. However, science is advancing, and vitamin deficiency is linked to multiple types of cancer. The most common are breast, prostate, and colon cancer.
Therefore, science is currently working to clarify the cause-and-effect relationship and develop a treatment through Vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency is also a factor in today’s fastest-growing diagnoses: obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Which foods are natural sources of the Vitamin?
Milk, eggs, meat products, and fish (eating oily fish 3 to 5 times a week) is recommended. During the winter months, you can mainly rely on them for their procurement or intake of nutritional supplements. In case of established vitamin deficiency, additional intake of supplements is necessary – containing only Vitamin or in various combinations.