The days are getting shorter, and the sun is showing itself less and less. Many of us go to work in the morning in the dark and also return home in the dark. Although the winter period also brings many fun things, such as the pleasant holidays and skating, the chance to get a little sun is minimal. It is precisely this sunlight that plays a big role in the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D3 is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth because it ensures that Calcium and Phosphorus from our food are well absorbed. Is it wise to take extra vitamin D in winter? Or do we get enough out of our diet? Voeding-en-fitness.nl has the answer for you!
The function of vitamin D
Before we see if you should use extra vitamin D in winter, it is important to know exactly what vitamin D’s function is in our body. Vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. This is because this vitamin plays a large role in the absorption and storage of Calcium and Phosphorus. Vitamin D3 helps to store these aforementioned minerals in our bones and teeth during the growth phase.
For the elderly, it is also important to get enough vitamin D, as this is necessary to minimize osteoporosis (bone decalcification). Vitamin D also plays an important role in body processes such as building cells for our immune system.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Because vitamin D is so important for the development of our bones, a deficiency of it can lead to the onset of rickets in children. This is an abnormality of the skeleton. In the elderly, vitamin D deficiency increases bone decalcification and reduced bone density, with all the consequences.
- Weaker muscles, loss of strength
- Muscle stalls and vibrations
- Feeling tired and lethargic.
- Energy shortage
- Aching joints or muscles
- Faster bleeding gums
Can I get too much vitamin D?
Yes, this is possible, but it is doubtful that this will occur. Prolonged exposure to the sun does not increase the risk of excess vitamin D. In practice. Therefore, an overdose of vitamin D3 is rare.
This only happens when you take too much vitamin D as a dietary supplement on top of your daily diet. When you take an extremely high amount of vitamin D supplements for a long period of time, calcium deposits can develop in your body.
Main sources of vitamin D
Since sunlight is one of the most important vitamins D sources, you would think you need extra vitamin D in winter anyway. However, you can also get vitamin D from your regular diet. Products such as oily fish, eggs, dairy and meat provide vitamin D. Also; vitamin D is increasingly added to baking and roasting products and margarine/halvarine.
- Oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel
- Margarine / halvarine
How much vitamin D3 do you need?
How much vitamin D you need depends on several factors. This way, your age and skin colour play a role, but also a more active lifestyle can cause you to need extra vitamin D.
The daily recommended amount is for ‘normal and healthy people’ 10 micrograms per day. People over 70 years of age are advised to get 20 micrograms per day. Also, infants, pregnant women and people with dark skin colour are recommended to get more vitamin D. The dark skin tone leads to reduced vitamin D production from sunlight.
Should I take extra vitamin D in winter?
Now that you know more about vitamin D’s function and what foods this vitamin contains, I would like to go into the question of whether you need extra vitamin D in the winter. In principle, we get enough vitamin D from our diet and exposure to sunlight. When you get out enough, both in summer and winter, and follow a varied diet where you eat eggs, meat, dairy and oily fish, you don’t need any extra vitamin D.
Are you pregnant, have a dark skin tone, or get a little older? Then the use of supplements with vitamin D may be desirable. The Health Council even recommends that you take extra vitamin D in both summer and winter.
Even if you don’t get out much during the winter months and haven’t really been in the sun much during the summer, it might be wise to take vitamin D. In this case. You do need extra vitamin D in the winter to avoid a deficiency.
Advice for extra vitamin D in winter
If you need extra vitamin D3, follow the following guidelines:
10 micrograms / 400 IE per day:
- People with dark skin tones
- Children from 0 to 4 years old
- People who don’t get out, shun the sun or often wear covering clothes
- Pregnant women
- Women aged 50 to 70 (osteoporosis risk group)
20 micrograms / 800 IE per day:
- Men and women over the age of 70
- People who live in a care home
- People who already have osteoporosis
Vitamin D supplements
If you think you need some extra vitamin D in winter and want to add this as a supplement to your daily diet, there are many brands and dosages available.