Vitamin D, also known as Cholecalciferol, is a “famous” micronutrient in recent years. All thanks to having been considered a hormone, a messenger substance that acts on various structures, whether cells, tissues or organs.
Nowadays, several functions are recognized, far beyond the fixation of calcium in the bone. Directly or indirectly, it is estimated that Vitamin D modulates about 3% of the human genome. In addition to its interaction with other hormones, like insulin and thyroid hormones, Vitamin D participates in the control of essential life functions, such as cellular metabolism and the regulation of the immune, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. So, in order to prevent depression, control blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, have a resilient immune system and an efficient metabolism, one must worry about this vitamin! However, according to a recent study by the Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences of the University of Porto, 70% of Portuguese people (7 out of 10 people) under the age of 30 have a lack of vitamin D. Among the elderly, the problem is even more serious: 96% of the population, between 60 and 90 years old, have a deficit of this nutrient.
For some time, it was thought that the deficiency of this vitamin was only manifested in northern European countries, with little sun. However, nowadays, it is known that this is a global public health problem. And why is that?
One of the reasons may be due to the low sun exposure during winter: about 20 minutes of daily sun exposure from an area as small as the back of the neck is enough to synthesize the daily dose of vitamin D for a healthy adult.
But who does that? The fact is that we spend a lot of time at home, at work, at the gym… Another plausible reason is due to the increase in obesity and overweight in Portugal, which already exceeds 50% of the population, according to the latest statistics. Vitamin D is fat soluble, the more fat there is in the cells, the more they act as “deposits” preventing the arrival of vitamin D to the blood. On the other hand, today, several genetic polymorphisms have been identified in the population that alter the metabolism of vitamin D, leading to its conversion into the active substance being ineffective. Some of the solutions may be: - Watch your weight and keep your body fat percentage within recommended standards; - Increase consumption of sources of vitamin D in your diet: Fish oil, fatty fish, cartilaginous and small-bone fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, full-fat or semi-skimmed dairy products, and fortified food; - A responsible sun exposure, for about 20 minutes a day, until 10 am or 4 pm; - Take a food supplement monitored through clinical analysis. - Therefore, introducing fatty fish with edible bones or cartilage at least three times a week is recommended.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D intake is 400IU up to 8 years old, 600IU from 9 to 69 years old and 800IU for people over 70 years old. These are main dietary sources of vitamin D.
Image 1 – Main dietary sources of vitamin D. From left to right, top to bottom: grilled sardine, grilled blackspot seabream, boiled meagre, grilled European plaice, grilled sole, grilled salmon, 2 medium sized eggs, fortified cereals. Source: blog.stannah.pt
You can find excellent sources of vitamin D in all Comur’s canned fish, such as the “Smoked sole in olive oil”, the “Meagre in olive oil” and of course in all Sardines’ options! The canned goods from Comur are safe, versatile, delicious and rich in vitamin D. See you soon!