Recently, a large number of scientific studies have demonstrated the benefits of vitamin D consumption. This substance is related to the health of bones, heart, muscles and many other parts of the body.

But achieving adequate levels of the substance is not one of the easiest tasks.

How is vitamin D measured?

There are two ways to obtain the recommended amounts of vitamin D: from the sun and from food, but it is not always possible to measure whether adequate levels are reached.

One of the latest developments to help in this task are cell phone apps, but can such devices be trusted? With this in mind, researchers at the University of Guelph (Canada) analyzed the effectiveness of the “Vitamin D Calculator” app.

To do this, they asked 25 people between the ages of 18 and 25 to use the app for three days.

The consumption of foods containing vitamin D, the number of hours spent in the sun and the intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements were recorded. The same record was made orally to the researchers.

At the end of the experiment, both estimates reached a similar result, demonstrating that the app is an effective tool to stimulate and control vitamin D intake and production in the human body.

However, consuming vitamin D within the recommendations does not guarantee that the levels of the substance are adequate in the body. For this, the ideal is to consult a physician and undergo periodic examinations.

Application to measure vitamin D

The “Vitamin D Calculator” app is available for iPhone and other Apple devices, just download it from the App Store. To use it, you have to enter your personal data and skin type and record your daily meals, sun exposure time and vitamin D supplement intake. At the end, it shows what your daily vitamin D rate was.

Vitamin D sources

Between 80% and 90% of circulating vitamin D is obtained through sun exposure.

For the sun’s lux to transform the calciferol present in the body into vitamin D, it takes 20 minutes with arms and legs exposed to the sun without sun protection. Foods such as sardines, tuna, salmon, cheddar cheese, eggs and beef can also provide vitamin D.

The two sources of vitamin D generate medical discussion, if on the one hand some of the food sources of vitamin D are fatty, on the other hand, sun exposure without sun protection is contraindicated by dermatology institutions, such as the  Society of Dermatology (SBD), due to the risk of developing skin cancer.

Other options include vitamin D supplements, which should be consumed with professional guidance, and vitamin D-fortified foods, such as some milks and breakfast cereals.

How much vitamin D should I take per day?
The amount of vitamin D that should be consumed daily is 400 IU (International Units), the equivalent of 10 micrograms or 0.01 milligrams. It seems small, but the amount of vitamin D in food is also small.