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Taking extra vitamin D this summer: is it necessary or not?

Spring has arrived, the sun regains its strength and helps us to produce vitamin D. But what is that actually good for? Are we getting enough thanks to the sun, or do we need more?
Bauke ter Braak of the Vitamin Information Office and professor of immunology Huub Savelkoul (Wageningen University) provide the answers.

“Vitamin D supports your natural resistance and helps your body to protect itself against external threats, such as bacteria and viruses. It also contributes to the maintenance of strong bones, flexible muscles and strong teeth. In addition, vitamin D aids in the normal absorption of the minerals calcium and phosphorus, ”says Bauke ter Braak.

Required amount of sun

“The sun is our main source of vitamin D and should give us about two-thirds of what we need,” he says. Between April 1 and October 1, the sun provides exactly that element of the UV light we need to make vitamin D. The sun shines brightest from 12:00 to 14:00 in the afternoon.

“To make vitamin D, you have to leave some skin exposed, such as your head and hands. The amount of pigment in your skin and fat tissue in your body also influence the amount of vitamin D you produce. Your skin color determines whether you need 20 minutes or 1.5 hours. The more pigment, the more sun is needed,” adds Savelkoul.

Often too little

We can store the vitamin D that we do not immediately consume in our fat tissue to get through the dark winter months. Ter Braak emphasizes that this is not enough for people who, according to the Health Council, need a supplement throughout the year. “Like women over fifty and men over seventy.”

Children up to four years old do not absorb enough vitamin D through the skin and do not get enough from food. And speaking of children: “Also for pregnant women the advice is to take extra vitamin D daily,” explains ter Braak. “Furthermore, obese people have chronically inflamed adipose tissue and therefore more need for vitamin D”, Savelkoul adds.

For most people, the recommended daily dose for vitamin D is 10 micrograms, over the age of 70 it is 20. Supplements are the easiest way to get vitamin D.

Source: Brabants Dagblad, April 4 2021