Having insufficient levels of vitamin D, dangerous by leading to loss of bone density

Silvia Torrentnutritionist at Hospital HM Nou Delfos from Barcelona, ​​recalled that «it is dangerous” have insufficient levels of vitamin D because we are being led to a “Progressive loss of bone density with the consequence of suffering from osteoporosis and fractures, especially in people over 65 years of age». According to different studies, more than 50% of the Spanish population has a deficiency of this vitamin. This figure reaches 80% in the elderly and 62% in pregnant women.

This is explained, according to Torrents, by the low exposure to sunlight, the use of ultraviolet radiation filter creams and the low intake of foods rich in vitamin D. “Skin hyperpigmentation is also one of the reasons why Spain, despite being a country with many hours of sunlight, has a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency.” People over 65 are one of the main risk groups. However, more and more children and young people are being observed in whom the low level of vitamin D causes important health problems.

More than 50% of the Spanish population has vitamin D deficiency

Key substance for women
Women, at all stages of life, constitute another risk group. Vitamin D «it acts as a hormone and any hormone is important in women’s health», assures Silvia Torrents. Thus, in childbearing age, its deficiency makes it difficult for the embryo to implant and favors polycystic ovary syndrome. This problem affects between 5% and 10% of women. During pregnancy, its insufficiency is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes, premature delivery and low birth weight of the baby. Finally, in menopause, the correct levels of vitamin D prevent cardiovascular problems, breast cancer, obesity and osteoporosis.

It is not easy to find foods rich in vitamin D, so assuming an optimal level through diet is difficult. Cod liver oil, oily fish (sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, etc.), shellfish, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, avocado or wheat germ are among the few foods that can help to maintain an optimal level of vitamin D, but what is definitive is the exposure of our skin to the sun’s rays.

Vitamin D insufficiency during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes, premature delivery and low birth weight of the baby

Sun throughout the year, but with caution
Summer is the time of year when sun exposure is more frequent, but it is a habit that must be put into practice throughout the year. In winter and spring it is advisable to go out between 10 and 12 hours, while in summer, the HM Nou Delfos nutritionist considers that to metabolize vitamin D «it is enough to be alone between 15 and 30 minutes in the sun, always during the hours when solar radiation is not very high, since, if not, it would pose a risk when it comes to developing severe skin problems. If we plan a greater extension of sun exposure, we must take into account the application of a sunscreen to prevent skin cancer».

In this sense, the Dr. Marta Ortega, a gynecologist at Hospital HM Nou Delfos, states that to metabolize vitamin D, the need for sun exposure varies depending on age. So, “young women have enough to expose their face and arms to the sun’s rays for 5-15 minutes a day; while women over 70 years of age should stay longer, since skin synthesis is 75% lower».

To alleviate the problems of lack of Vitamin D, in addition to exposure to sunlight and the intake of foods rich in this substance, if the specialist considers it appropriate, the intake of a supplement can also be effective. Dr. Ortega is in favor of «supplement whenever sun exposure is insufficient and in patients with cancer, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

To alleviate the problems of lack of Vitamin D, the intake of a supplement or food supplement can also be effective, if the specialist considers it appropriate

In addition to supplements, you can also opt for a food supplement, although «always following the guidelines indicated by professionals, since, otherwise, we could suffer from intoxication. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, so if more than the right amount is ingested, it is not excreted and remains accumulated in fatty tissue, whose storage is unfavorable for health»explains Silvia Torrents.

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