Group D vitamins are several fat-soluble substances responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate, in addition to other biological effects. Lack of vitamin D is directly associated with bone and skin problems. In this post we will briefly discuss type D vitamins and why they are important for the skin.
Related post: Why the sun causes wrinkles?
A little introduction to Vitamin D
Within the whole group of compounds that are part of the vitamin D family, the most important for humans are vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested through diet and supplements, although only a few foods, such as fatty fish meat, naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D.
Why sun exposure increases vitamin D levels
The main natural source of the vitamin is that produced by the synthesis of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) in the lower layers of the skin’s epidermis through a chemical reaction that depends directly on the skin’s exposure to the sun’s rays (specifically UVB radiation).
The importance of vitamin D for the skin
Vitamin D is directly related to the absorption of calcium and phosphorus through the small intestine, compounds that are basic for keeping skin, bones and teeth in perfect condition. Vitamin D (both excess and deficiency) has been shown to be closely related to multitude of skin diseases, among which we highlight:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Cutaneous melanoma (skin cancer)
How do you get the vitamin D you need?
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, to obtain the right levels of vitamin D, we need, in addition to a good diet, to synthesise this vitamin through exposure to the sun. However, too much exposure to the sun will cause skin problems, but not enough exposure will not allow us to synthesise the amount of vitamin D we need each day. What is the necessary and non-harmful exposure time then? The vast majority of dermatologists recommend a daily exposure to the sun without protection of between 10 and 20 minutes.
What foods are richest in vitamin D?
In order for the body to be able to synthesise usable vitamin D, we must eat enough cholecalciferol, which is obtained through the diet. The foods that naturally contain the most cholecalciferol are as follows:
- All fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna and salmon.
- Dairy products, especially cheese
- Eggs, especially the yolk
In addition, there is a wide variety of foods that are fortified with added vitamin D, including the following:
- Breakfast cereal
- Dairy products
Vitamin D and coronavirus
Recently, several studies have emerged linking the administration of medications that promote vitamin D synthesis with an improvement in the symptoms caused by the coronavirus. Specifically, a group of researchers from the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba have carried out the research. However, it will be necessary to wait for more conclusive results.