Vitamin D

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It is common knowledge that vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium, an essential mineral for the bones and teeth. Dark skin colour and high UV-factor sunscreens contribute to a deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is caused by a variety of other factors: not enough sunlight, covering up in summer, or even specific geographic location. Lack of vitamin D is widespread in northern European countries. Although vitamin D is available in certain foods such as oily fish like salmon and mackerel, the amount found in these foods is not sufficient as a depot for the vitamin. Lifestyle plays an important role in deficiency: office jobs, not getting enough light, and strict vegan nutrition are contributory factors. Most adults in northern Europe may not know that they could be vitamin D deficient.

Pharmacy customer: Hello, do you speak English?

PTA: Hello. Yes, I do. What can I do for you?

Pharmacy customer: My doctor did a blood test last week and I don’t have enough vitamin D in my blood.

PTA: At this time of year we get a lot of customers asking for vitamin D. You see, production, or more correctly, synthesis of vitamin D is greatly reduced in the winter months because the sun doesn’t shine as intensely as in summer. The vitamin is produced in the skin with the help of sunlight. Summer 2015 was a really great summer!

Pharmacy customer: I didn’t think that there would be so many people with the deficiency!

PTA: The problem is that on the one hand, we have people who are afraid of the effects of too much sun, so they use sunscreen with a high protection factor. On the other hand, more and more people work in indoor jobs, so they don’t get enough sunlight either. Nowadays, children also tend to acquire vitamin D deficiency because they stay indoors watching TV and playing video games or games on the internet.

Pharmacy customer: I see. Is it possible to get vitamin D from my nutrition?

PTA: Certainly, but not in the amount that you would need to counteract the deficiency that your doctor has diagnosed. I mean, vitamin D is in foods such as oily fish, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and beef liver.

Pharmacy customer: So, that’s why I need to take vitamin D supplements, isn’t it?

PTA: Yes. Especially at this time of the year.

Pharmacy customer: How often do I need to take them?

PTA: We have this really good product that you only need to take once a week. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to think about taking it every day. I take it myself and what I do is to put a reminder in my Smartphone for Sunday, which gives me a signal to take it!

Pharmacy customer: That’s a good idea! I think I’ll do that too! What role does vitamin D play anyway?

PTA: The most important form is vitamin D3, which is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight. There is some evidence from research that vitamin D could possibly play a role in prevention and treatment of illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.

Pharmacy customer: Amazing!

PTA: The main function of the vitamin is to enhance the absorption of essential minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, which are needed for the bones and teeth.

Pharmacy customer: I’ll see how I get on with these tablets. Thank you very much for your help.

Vocabulary
common knowledge Allgemeinwissen
contribute beitragen
deficiency Mangel
widespread weitverbreitet
salmon Lachs
contributory factors beitragender Faktoren
sunscreen Sonnenschutz
acquire bekommen
counteract entgegenwirken
egg yolk Eigelb
beef liver Rinderleber
supplements Nahrungsergänzungsmittel
reminder Gedächtnisstütze
evidence Beweis, Beleg
research Forschung
treatment Behandlung
enhance verbessern, erhöhen

Den Artikel finden Sie auch in Die PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 11/15 auf Seite 30.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker

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