Should I supplement with vitamin D?

50% of the French have a deficit. Seniors are especially at risk because the ability to absorb and synthesize vitamin D decreases with age. This vitamin plays an important role in protecting the body against viruses such as Covid-19, and its deficiency also causes osteoporosis. The supplement is recommended from the age of 65.

Vitamin D is mainly produced skin, under the influence of ultraviolet rays. “It is stored in the liver, muscles and adipose tissue,” explains Mélanie Deschasaux of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Group (University of Paris 13). The rest is given fat food, especially seafood products: cod liver, herring, sardines, but also bacon, cheese, eggs and fortified foods.

Why is vitamin D called anti-aging?

Because studies show that vitamin D deficiency is more likely to occur with age, such as cancer or cardiovascular problems. “These are just hypotheses,” emphasizes Mélanie Deschasaux. The only proven role of vitamin D is to increase intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus. This ensures optimal mineralization of bones, cartilage and teeth. It also helps keep the blood levels of these two minerals stable.”

What are the risk factors for deficiency?

43% of the French have a vitamin D deficiency, and about 5% have a real deficiency. The deficit is determined by several factors, among others: thinness and obesityage, because the body’s ability to absorb or synthesize vitamin D decreases with age. This risk is also higher in people who are sick dark or dull skinbecause melanin filters UV rays. It can also increase in vegans who eliminate meat, fish, eggs and dairy products from their diet.

What are the consequences of a deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is primarily a tumor of osteoporosis. This skeletal disease is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and quality of bone tissue and an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D deficiency causes: decreased muscle tone, tetany attacks, convulsions and sometimes anemia. It mainly manifests as pain and bone deformities.

How to avoid it?

“The first preventive measure is a healthy lifestyle,” stresses Mélanie Deschasaux. Exposure is recommended The sun. It’s not about sunbathing. But leave the house, at least an hour a day. Ideally, light physical activity outside, which also helps maintain a normal weight. Therefore, in order to go outside, it is necessary to take advantage of the smallest ray of sunlight, because the body consumes the vitamin D accumulated on sunny days in the winter. Finally, it is recommended to consume foods rich in vitamin D.

Who needs to top up?

People age 65 and older are at a very high risk of vitamin D deficiency. But so are people who rarely go out because they live in an institution, such as those who are constantly falling, have or are at risk of osteoporosis. Or even those with black or matte skin and who live north of the Loire. Do you have doubts about your vitamin D status? Consult your doctor. You can request a test, but it is only reimbursed in very rare clinical cases.

Isabelle Verbaere

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