Vitamin D is produced in the skin from ultraviolet radiation in sunlight.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and helps our body absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and is produced in the skin from the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight.
Vitamins in general are essential substances for the functioning of our body. They do not provide calories and are necessary for the maintenance of most metabolic functions, such as growth.
Because of this, it is essential to get a sufficient contribution in our diet to avoid deficiencies in them and diseases derived from it. One of them is vitamin D and its deficiency can cause health problems in children.
More specifically, this fat-soluble vitamin helps our body absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for the development of bones, among other things.
It also has a relevant role as a regulator of the immune or anti-tumor system, among others.
So, in countries with more sunlight, are there fewer people with a deficiency of this vitamin?
Despite what we may think, even in countries with high levels of sun exposure, the endemic existence of low levels of this vitamin in the population is frequent mainly because popular culture blame sunlight for skin cancer, and the use of sun block does not allow sunlight to keep vitamin D levels at a healthy levels.
Although these are not usually so low or so prolonged in time as to generate obvious pathologies, they can affect different metabolic processes important for development.
The daily requirements of this vitamin in childhood and adolescence are between 400 and 600 IU, equivalent of 0.025 micrograms of cholecalciferol -vitamin D3 and ergocalciferol – vitamin D2.
Although this vitamin is widely known to mothers due to its direct relationship with calcium metabolism, growth, and bone ossification, it has many other less-known functions.
Although the best known disease derived from vitamin D deficiency is rickets – this disorder leads to softening and weakening of the bones – in children, other conditions such as osteoporosis poorly calcified bones, low levels of calcium in the blood or soft bones.
Even though there are foods that have higher levels of vitamin D than others, there are none that present significantly high figures.
Blue and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna are the most recommended in these cases. Even so, to recover and normalize low levels of vitamin D we only have two options: one is to increase the intake, either through diet or through specific supplements. The other way is to increase sun exposure.
The use of fat-soluble vitamin supplements is only recommended in cases of deficiency and must be done under medical supervision and analytical control, in order to avoid insufficient guidelines, as well as their excessive consumption.
Thus, although it is common for all of us to have the feeling that vitamin supplements are good and recommended, we must be careful not to end up creating a problem that is more difficult to solve than the vitamin D deficiency itself.
Let’s remember that vitamin D is the only one that the human body is capable of producing by itself. In fact, its main source is the skin.
We synthesize it when we are exposed to sunlight and it must be remembered that it is not required in the diet if exposure to sunlight is adequate.
In addition, of the known pathologies of the deficiency of this vitamin, such as rickets, recent studies have received a lot of interest due to the relationship that has been found between vitamin D and some dermatoses.
This relationship is mainly due to the role it plays in the activity of the immune system. This is reflected in the fact that patients with vitamin D deficiency have more severe cases and a poor evolution of these pathologies. Dermatosis is any abnormality or injury to the skin.
Currently, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the pathogenesis of a wide variety of dermatological diseases. These include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea.
In other dermatological diseases, the relationship between it and its influence, for example, in vitiligo, systemic lupus erythematosus, some kinds of alopecia and some types of skin cancer, is still being investigated.
To avoid these health problems, we have to have optimal levels of vitamin D in the body of children and adults, and this is achieved with a healthy practice that consists of combining a controlled sun exposure together with an adequate diet and supplements if necessary.
During pregnancy women should sunbathe. The sun has beneficial effects, since sunlight transforms dehydrocholesterol into vitamin D, which will help the absorption of calcium that we ingest in the diet.