Today we will talk about another vitamin that is very popular when it comes to vegan nutrition. The speech is of course from vitamin D. I think I’m not giving too much away when I already say that vitamin D should not only be given more attention in plant-based nutrition. Because it is in real short supply in a large part of the population in Germany – and this is completely independent of the type of diet. According to the NVZ II, 82 percent of men and 91 percent of women do not reach the recommended level of vitamin D (MRI, 2008).
WHAT IS VITAMIN D ACTUALLY?
Vitamin D is unique! It is the only vitamin that our bodies can make completely on their own. Cool, right? But it is also found in food and then needs to be activated to perform all its functions in our bodies. However, this is anything but easy. I’ll do my best to briefly show you this marvel. In several steps, the precursor provitamin D3 is formed in the liver from cholesterol and then converted to vitamin D3 in the skin with the help of UV rays from the sun.
The resulting D3, just like the D3 ingested from food, must now be converted into its active form in several steps in the liver and then also in the kidneys. Thus ready, it can then be bound to a transport protein and transported to its site of action. Since vitamin D3 is fat-soluble, our body can store it in our fatty tissue.
WHY DO I NEED VITAMIN D?
The vitamin greatly influences the calcium and phosphate balance of our body. It promotes the absorption of calcium from the intestines through the formation of transporters. Vitamin D also promotes the kidney’s retrieval function to store calcium and phosphate from the urine. In deficiency situations, however, it also supports the release of the two substances from the bones to increase or maintain constant blood levels of calcium and phosphate. So it’s no surprise that a good balance is essential for our healthy bones. But few people have any idea what else it can do, because it also has an effect on the formation of blood cells and even has a mood-boosting effect.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
If we are deficient in this vitamin, adults may experience bone and muscle pain. An extreme deficiency can even lead to limited mobility. In later stages, this is known in specialist circles as osteomalacia – this means that a soft bone develops that can break easily. In children, in extreme cases, the resulting bone metabolism disorder leads to rickets, i.e. growth disorders or a skeletal malformation. This should be avoided in any case, so how do you get enough vitamin D?
WHERE IS VITAMIN D FOUND IN FOOD?
Vitamin D3 is found primarily in fatty fish and other animal products. But don’t worry, the plant world has plenty to offer as well. My favorites among vitamin D3 sources are mushrooms and avocados. You’ve probably already discovered a vitamin D3 bomb or two in my book and videos.
Although we can both make and absorb vitamin D, we can still become deficient. Especially if you eat a plant-based diet, you should make sure you get enough in the winter, when your skin doesn’t get much UV light. It is therefore a good idea to supplement vitamin D supplements. Example the one from Vivo. Through my affiliate link you get 10% off your first order. My code is Annelina10.
AM I GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D TOO?
But as is so often the case, “more” is not necessarily better. Since too high a level also has negative effects, the right balance and the right measure are crucial here, as always. Because as already reported, it is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored by our body. In addition, a fat-soluble vitamin in excess cannot simply be excreted via the kidneys, but must first be made water-soluble again with the help of bile. Recommendations for adults vary, but 20 µg/day = 800 IU from the DGE is a good guideline. In addition, vitamin D supplementation is recommended for all infants and young children during the first two years of life, regardless of dietary habits.
Again, a whole lot of info, right? But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. I, for example, use the drops of ?? 1 time a day. – you might already know that if you regularly watch my stories. Then I have my blood checked by my doctor once a year to make sure that everything is in order. And that’s it. Not so complicated, is it?
What are your experiences with vitamin D? I am curious to hear what you report.
- Recommendation of vitamin D intake of different age groups: https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/vitamin-d/ (10/29/20, 17:00)
- Haines ST, Park SK. Vitamin D supplementation: what’s known, what to do, and what’s needed. Pharmacotherapy. 2012 Apr;32(4):354-82. doi: 10.1002/phar.1037. PMID: 22461123.
- Wacker M, Holick MF. Sunlight and vitamin D: A global perspective for health. Dermatoendocrinol. 2013 Jan 1;5(1):51-108. doi: 10.4161/derm.24494. PMID: 24494042; PMCID: PMC3897598.
- Anglin RE, Samaan Z, Walter SD, McDonald SD. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;202:100-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.111.106666. PMID: 23377209.
- Goodbye vegan cliché! Scientific answers to critical questions about vegan diets. Expanded edition, Niko Rittenau March 2020, ISBN 9783954531899.
- Recommendation of B12 intake of different age groups: https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/vitamin-b12/
Ball: Vitamins: Their Role in the Human Body. Blackwell Publishing 2004, ISBN: 978-0-632-06478-6.
- Goodbye vegan cliché! Scientific answers to critical questions about vegan nutrition. Expanded edition, Niko Rittenau March 2020, ISBN 9783954531899.
- Allen, Lindsay H. “Vitamin B-12.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 3,1 (2012): 54-5. doi:10.3945/an.111.001370.