December 22, 2023 08:12
Vitamin D is vital to retain calcium for healthy bones and stimulate the immune system, but it is mainly synthesized from sunlight, which becomes scarce in the winter months.
Dr. Shin Ho-cheol at Samsung Medical Center said, "Every cell in the body has vitamin D receptors, which shows how essential it is to function normally." Vitamin D also helps antioxidation and anti-inflammatory functions as well as muscle and brain cell activity.
Deficiencies can raise the risk of rickets in childhood and osteoporosis among adults. The latest research also shows that a shortage of the vitamin raises the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and coronavirus infection.
According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of patients with vitamin D deficiency tripled from 86,000 in 2017 to 247,000 in 2021 as people stayed indoors during lockdown.
But fish and eggs are other important sources of vitamin D, and mushrooms, meat and nuts also contain smaller amounts of it.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare recommends a daily adult dosage 10 μg of vitamin D. A hundred grams of salmon contains 33 μg of vitamin D, while eggs contain 20.9 μg, herring roe 17 μg and cooked Pacific saury 13 μg. Milk and supplements also help.
Opinions vary though, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization have differing views. Shin at Samsung Medical Center said, "A roundup of expert opinions shows the recommended daily intake ranging from 10 μg to 25 μg. Children need 10 μg and adults 10-20 μg, while the intake should increase to 25 μg for the elderly."
Excessive intake can also be harmful and lead to nausea, frequent urination and weakness. And buildups of large levels of calcium in the body can lead to calcification of the blood vessels. That means the best way to obtain vitamin D is through a healthy diet and exposure to sunlight.
Myung Seung-kwon at the National Cancer Center said, "Studies suggest that high-dose vitamin D therapy does not have an effect on preventing fractures or falls. To promote bone health, expose yourself to sunlight for over 10 minutes a day, exercise regularly and increase the intake of foods like fatty fish."
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