Vitamin D

This is the importance of vitamin D for your muscles, bones and joints

The interest in vitamin D has increased significantly in recent years. More and more scientific studies show that a lack of this vitamin can lead to many chronic conditions. A deficiency increases the risk of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Low vitamin D status also plays a role in the development of osteoporosis, muscle aches, muscle weakness and bone pain. There are indications that vitamin D is likely to have anti-inflammatory activity in inflammatory rheumatism and possibly osteoarthritis. Patients with lupus erythematosus have an extra chance of a vitamin D deficiency. The skin is hypersensitive to sunlight. Therefore, people with this condition use sun blockers to protect the skin. In severe cases of vitamin D, osteomalacia may occur in adults. This condition is accompanied by weak and painful bones.
Vitamin D is therefore an important vitamin for the muscles, bones and joints. It is quite worrying that many people have a chronic lack of this vitamin in the body. About time to take a closer look at this nutrient.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D
Vitamine D or calciferol takes a special position among the vitamins. It is only present in a few foods, such as fatty fish, liver, meat, eggs and milk products. Therefore, it has been added to margarine, halvarine and baking products for decades. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. This nutrient is transformed by the invisible UV-B part of sunlight to cholecalciferol or vitamin D3 in the skin. This is transported to the liver and then converted to calcidiol. This is stored in the liver and body fat as an emergency supply for the ‘sun-poor’ winter months.
The kidneys convert calcidiol into the hormone calcitriol. This hormone keeps the blood level in the blood level. This is very important for almost all body processes, including of course the construction and maintenance of bone tissue. In September, this “sunshine vitamin” has reached the highest level in the body. During the winter months the sun is too weak to make enough vitamin D in your skin. You then consume the calcidiol reserves in your liver and adipose tissue. In March, the lowest level of vitamin D in your body will be measured.

Do I need extra vitamin D?

Particularly upon ageing, it is important to pay close attention to the vitamin D status of your body. Over the age of 50 years, your skin is less able to produce this vitamin from sunlight. Are you a vegan or vegetarian, do you have a dark skin color, don’t you get out much or cover your skin when you’re going out? Especially then, extra vitamin D is important. This also applies if you often have stress situations or if you are overweight. There are also drugs that can reduce the production of calcidiol in the liver. One of these is cortisol, which is often used as an anti-inflammatory agent in joint complaints.

The role of vitamin D in the prevention of bone decalcification

Nearly one in two people over the age of 65 have a shortage of vitamin D in the body. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and because the bones become brighter and thinner, they can break more easily. Vitamin D is essential for the intake of calcium from the intestines. A good nutritional supplement for the preservation of strong bones contains, in addition to calcium, magnesium and vitamin K, and vitamin D. In addition to osteoporosis, osteomalacia may occur in a serious lack of this vitamin. This means ‘softening of the bone’. Due to lack of vitamin D, there is little or no calcium in the bones. The main symptoms of this condition are muscle weakness and bone pain. Osteomalacia and osteoporosis are different disorders. In bone calcification, bone tissue decreases, but the mineral composition remains the same. In osteomalacia, there is not enough mineral deposition in the bones, making them weaker and more sensitive.

Vitamin D for strong muscles

In joint disorder it is important to keep moving sufficiently. This causes strong muscles. Muscles protect the damaged joint as a kind of armor. This provides more support and less pain. Research shows that a lack of vitamin D can weaken the muscles. In a Japanese study, 96 women were followed for two years after having had a stroke. After this condition, there is a high risk of falling. Half of the women received a supplement with vitamin D and the other half a placebo (fake drug). In the first group, 59% fewer falling accidents were recorded during the investigation period than in the placebo group. In the vitamin D group no one broke a hip. That was four times as much in the placebo group. It was found that in women who had taken vitamin D the muscle tissue and muscle strength had increased. Having strong muscles reduces the chance of falling in the elderly. Every year approximately 3,000 elderly people die after a falling incident. It is expected that this figure will increase to about 4800 over the next 15 years also because the ageing population.

How much extra vitamin D do I need per day?

Vitamin D deficiencies can very quickly occur in your body. Women are advised to take a daily supplement of 10 μg of Vitamin D from the age of 50 years. From the age of 70, both women and men will have an additional daily supplement of 20 μg per day. Do you have a dark skin color or are you rarely outside? Then it is advisable to take 10 μg extra vitamin D from the age of four years. When using a nutritional supplement for strong bones, it is often not necessary to take a separate vitamin D supplement because this vitamin has been added to almost all bone formulas. Usually it is cholecalciferol or vitamin D3. There are also supplements with ergocalciferol which is also called vitamin D2. This form is less active.

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