The Microbiologist – Biopathologist Voula Marinidou , advises you:
Vitamins D3 and C, Exercise and Iron (FE++), Exercise and Osteoporosis, Probiotics and their role in our health.
Which are the Vitamins D3 and C, what are their properties and which sources can we get them from?
The Vitamin of … the sun (D3)
Vitamin D3 is also called the vitamin of the sun because besides obtaining it from food (like fish and eggs), we can also produce it naturally in our bodies when our skin is exposed to the sun’s radiation.
Greece is a country with a lot of sunlight! Almost every day of the year is a sunny day and thus we enjoy long periods of exposure to sunlight. However, is this actually enough to secure adequate levels of Vitamin D3 in our system?
- Exposure to sunlight does not secure adequate levels of Vitamin D3 in our system.
This is because not all people can produce the same percentage of Vitamin D3 from solar radiation.
The main causes are:
- Genetics. For example, people situated around the Mediterranean Sea have darker skin which obstructs the production of Vitamin D3. In general, people with dark-colored skin require longer periods of exposure to sun light than people with light-colored skin.
- Very short and limited exposure to the sun during summer, in fear of unpleasant consequences (like the risk for developing melanoma).
- Use of sunscreen lotion in summer. We all use sunscreen with a very high protection factor (SPF) to effectively reduce the dangers from the sun’s rays. However, by doing so, we prevent the production of Vitamin D3 in our skin.
Vitamin D3 forms in our skin when we are exposed to the Ultra Violet (UV) light of the sun and it is then converted to its biological active form called Calcitriol or 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol.
Together with Parathormone (PTH) and Calcitonin (CT), it helps regulate the metabolism of Calcium (Ca++) and Phosphorus (P++).
Benefits of Vitamin D3 for our body
1) It boosts our immune system
2) Many studies show that vitamin D3 significantly improves the symptoms of depression and helps maintain our mental stability.
3) It helps the development and the correct operation of our bones and also prevents unpleasant conditions like rickets in newborn and young children.
Vitamin C offers plenty of valuable properties and significant benefits to the human body. It is perhaps the most popular vitamin that everyone is familiar with. Since our body is incapable of producing vitamin C, we have to receive it from the food that we consume. It can be found in many types of food and especially in fruits and vegetables.
How Vitamin C benefits our body.
1) It enhances the body’s absorption of iron (Fe++), which is a necessary element for the correct function of our body.
2) It plays a vital role in the good operation of our bones.
3) It strengthens the defense of our immune system. It helps us overcome diseases like infections of the common flu and other viruses. Studies have shown that vitamin C consumption can offer patients relief from the symptoms of the common cold and also vastly reduce their recovery period.
4) It has a very strong antioxidant effect.
5) It reduces fatigue and boosts our energy levels. The quantity of Vitamin C in our body can not only affect our mood but also our mental health in general.
Foods rich in Vitamin C
– Citrus fruits (oranges and lemons)
IRON (FE++) AND EXERCIZE
Excessive strain caused by intense physical exercise (or physical labor) can lead to the reduction of Iron (Fe++) and Ferritin (a protein that stores iron) in our body. Because of their intense workouts, athletes require much higher levels of iron than the general public so that they can remain in top form and avoid exhaustion during their training but also their everyday life.
Foods Rich in Iron (Fe++)
– Lean veal meat
– Beans (legumes)
– Dried figs
– Sesame seeds
– Steamed green vegetables
OSTEOPOROSIS AND EXERCISE
Exercising correctly and systematically can help us reduce bone loss and build strong muscles that can better support our body. Some exercises can potentially counterbalance the natural bone loss observed in old age and at the same time improve our body’s strength, stature and balance.
HOW PROBIOTICS BENEFIT OUR HEALTH.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that are very important for our health. Their role is to preserve our intestinal flora and maintain the balance between good and bad microorganisms in our digestive system. They help our system’s defenses by protecting us against illnesses caused by hostile bacteria or other types of microbes. They exist naturally in our intestines but we can also increase their levels by eating foods that contain probiotics similar to the ones found in our body.
Sources of probiotics
– Fermented cheeses (buttermilk cheese, cottage cheese etc.)