Artificial vitamin D supplements would have been shown to be effective only in very rare cases. Obtaining it through food is easier.
During the last few years, vitamin D has become one of the “concerns” of primary care consultations, both by doctors and by patients. The so-called "vitamin of the Sun" should not be a problem in a country like Spain, where sun exposure is one of the great tourist attractions. However, according to some studies, it is not enough for our vitamin D levels to be in the proper range: in Spain there is a vitamin D deficit.
Vitamin D is necessary to absorb some micronutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus, at the intestinal level, all of them related to bone health: the lower the micronutrient level, the greater the risk of low bone density, osteoporosis and possible pathological fractures. For this reason, supplementing vitamin D with medication has become almost an obligation today, despite the fact that between 80-90% of this micronutrient is obtained thanks to sun exposure and only 10-20% thanks to food.
However, a new work of Spanish origin has discarded many of these ideas: vitamin D supplements are not only useless, they should only be prescribed in very specific cases. Additionally, it is relatively easy to get enough vitamin D through diet.
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Confirmed: vitamin D supplements are not effective
In recent work, carried out by the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona, together with the Iberoamerica Cochrane Center, it has been concluded that the regular consumption of artificial vitamin D (or vitamin D supplements) would not help prevent osteoporotic fractures. In fact, already during 2018 another work carried out by the Harvard University School of Medicine already ruled out that taking supplements could prevent diseases such as cancer, or other cerebrovascular pathologies such as stroke.
In total, this research has reviewed up to 81 studies where more than 50,000 individuals from different countries have participated. All of them, according to lead researcher Alonso Coello, have been done consistently, so refuting the current conclusion about vitamin D supplementation would be tricky.
Even so, the review has detected some specific cases where vitamin D supplements could be useful: in elderly people, who are not exposed to the sun, and at the same time suffer from malnutrition; other specific cases (already known before the vitamin D boom) would be those patients suffering from rickets or osteomalacia. In all other cases, including postmenopausal women and other individuals prone to osteoporosis, artificial supplements would have no benefit.
In this same review, the researchers conclude that the current mass supplementation is due more to a fad than to real evidence.
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Likewise, there is some controversy and a great lack of scientific consensus regarding this micronutrient: while some guidelines advise levels above 20 ng / ml, in Spain the clinical guidelines classify as an “optimal level” a range above 30 ng / ml, although they advise against supplementation unless it falls below 20 ng / ml.
In the other study mentioned, the VITAL study published by the Harvard University School of Medicine, 12,927 patients were studied, with 793 of them diagnosed with cancer while taking vitamin D supplements. For their part, among the 12,944 patients who took placebo, 824 had cancer, which would determine that vitamin D supplementation is useless in this regard as well. In the case of strokes, heart attacks, and even cardiovascular death, the results were very similar, so the researchers also advised against vitamin D supplementation at the time for no reason.
Foods rich in Vitamin D that you should know
It should be remembered that, essentially, vitamin D in the human body is obtained in a majority way thanks to sun exposure: with only an exposure of 10 minutes, three times a week, it would be enough to satisfy acceptable levels of this micronutrient.
Even so, it is known that a small percentage of it (10-20%) comes from food, so it does not hurt to know what foods contain it.
The first food on the list should be fish, where salmon, tuna and mackerel stand out as primary sources of vitamin D. In fact, only 100 grams of salmon or a serving of mackerel would cover 90% of the needs daily of vitamin D, while 80 grams of red or white tuna cover 50% of the daily needs of this micronutrient. For its part, a can of sardines can provide up to 66% of the daily needs of it.
Next is the seafood, such as prawns, prawns or oysters. In fact, for every 100 grams of the latter, half of the vitamin D needs of a single day are consumed.
The dairy products such as cheese, yogurt or milk may be able to deliver a similar amount, up to 50% of the daily requirement per 100 g of product. A case similar to that of enriched cereals, or even a 100g serving of mushrooms and mushrooms.
Finally, for its part, there is the egg, which can provide 10% of the daily needs of this micronutrient for each unit.
Therefore, the variety of foods rich in vitamin D makes it possible and feasible to obtain this micronutrient based on a good diet and probably much more effectively than any artificial supplementation.