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Vitamin D is needed for the uptake of the minerals calcium and phosphorus from food into the body. It is therefore important for growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also plays a role in maintaining the immune system, the proper functioning of muscles and the growth and development of cells.
Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that the body can make by itself. Under the influence of UV radiation from sunlight, vitamin D is created in the skin.
The remaining vitamin D should be taken from the food. Vitamin D is only found in foods of animal origin, especially in oily fish like eel, salmon and mackerel. Meat and eggs also provide vitamin D, but a lot less.
- Good for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
- Good for the functioning of muscles.
- Stimulates the uptake of calcium and phosphorus from food. It increases the calcium incorporation into the bones and contributes to normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
- Supports the immune system and has a positive effect on it.
- Contributes to the creation of cells and tissues.
A shortage of vitamin D can cause rickets in children. This disease causes malformations of the skeleton. In adults and the elderly, a vitamin D shortage can eventually lead to osteoporosis and/or muscle weakness.
An excessive intake of vitamin D can only occur as a result of prolonged using too many supplements. Calcium deposits in the body can arise during long-term use of high doses. With a normal diet and following the advice for intake, this doesn’t occur. Prolonged exposure to sunlight doesn’t put a risk of having too much vitamin D, because the skin regulates the creation then. In practice, an overdose in healthy people rarely occurs.
- A number of groups are advised to take extra vitamin D: young children, pregnant women, seniors, people with dark skin and those who rarely come outdoors or wear body-covering clothing (veil, burka).
- The amount of vitamin D produced by the body is dependent on the degree of exposure to sunlight and sunpower. The amount of pigment in the skin and age also play a role. A skin with a lot of pigment and an older skin produce less vitamin D.
- Vitamin D was discovered in 1922 by the British doctor Edward Mellanby.
- The term ‘cholecalciferol’ is derived from the Greek word cholè (bile) and the contraction of the words calcium and ergosterol.