Vitamin D Benefits
The human body produces vitamin D as a response to sun exposure. And it is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.
And Vitamin-D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. It helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin-D synthesis. And it can be obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation.
So, you can get it in breakfast staples like eggs, milk, and fortified orange juice, as well as in some mushrooms and in fatty fish such as halibut, salmon, and herring.
Also, if your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, you will be at risk of developing bone abnormalities like soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).
And it acts as a messenger instead of a participant in metabolism, potentially affecting everything from weight to how organs function.
Vitamin D Benefits
Vitamins such as C and E continue to be the sought after of many supplement lovers. But those vitamin superstars are being forced to share their throne with the long neglected vitaminD, that is finally getting the due attention it may have always deserved.
And here are some of the surprising health benefits of vitamin D that you need to know.
Protect Against Respiratory Infections
Increase your level of vitamin-D if you’re deficient, and you may find that you get fewer respiratory infections (aka colds and flu) than usual.
And according to recent study, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease.
Can Vitamin D Prevent COVID-19?
Scientists have reported that there is some circumstantial evidence that a lack of vitamin D may contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus and poorer outcomes in patients with COVID-19.
An analysis by researchers at Northwestern University suggests that vitamin-D may play a role in COVID-19 mortality rates, with D-deficient patients being “twice as likely to experience severe complications, including death.” (Still, the authors said that more research is needed.)
New research has suggested that the rate of infection and deaths appeared to be much higher in areas where people had lower amounts of vitamin-D in their systems.
And scientists are trying to find out whether vitamin-D might also help protect against Covid-19, because in the past decade, studies have found that taking it can lower the odds of developing respiratory infections like the cold and the flu, especially among people who have documented deficiencies.
Since the pandemic began, sales of the vitamin and other supplements promoted for immune health have soared. But preliminary studies of vitaminD and Covid-19 have yielded mixed results.
Also, researchers at Northwestern University released a study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, suggesting that vitamin-D could help to quell cytokine storms, a type of immune reaction that appears to worsen outcomes for coronavirus patients.
And another study published in the BMJ in 2017 reviewed data from 25 randomized trials and concluded that people assigned to take vitamin D had a 12 percent lower risk of developing respiratory tract infections compared to those given placebos.
While experts suspect that vitamin-D’s role in regulating the inflammatory response may help explain any connection, Dr. Sadeghi noted that vitamin-D deficiency has also been found to contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
The study he referenced concluded that a lack of vitamin-D may lead to the development of ARDS and advised doctors to help vitamin D-deficient patients correct that deficit.
A 2017 meta-analysis published in BMJ also showed a benefit from vitamin-D in treating respiratory disease. “Vitamin-D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall,” the authors reported.
So, while vitamin-D is far from a COVID-19 cure – you’ll still want to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread, and isolate if you do get sick – it might be in your best interest to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount, particularly during a respiratory virus pandemic.
Vitamin D reduces depression
Study has revealed that vitamin D play a key role in regulating mood and warding off depression. And research also found that people with depression who received vitamin-D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
Also, study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin-D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.
Reduce the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Studies in cell models has showed that vitamin-D may help increase insulin sensitivity, boost beta cell function, and lessen inflammation which are all potential benefits for reducing the risk of and helping manage type 2 diabetes.
So, if you want to lower your blood pressure, it may be just what the doctor ordered. If you’re trying to reduce your risk of diabetes, or lower your chances of heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, then vitamin-D should be at the front of the line in your daily supplement regimen.
A 2019 review shows that pregnant women that are deficient in vitamin-D may have a greater risk of developing preeclampsia and giving birth preterm.
And it’s deficiency causes gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. Also note that study has associated high vitaminD levels during pregnancy with an increased risk of food allergy in the child during the first 2 years of life.
Play A Role In Reducing Cancer Death
Scientists have seen that vitamin play important role in warding off cancer. And studies has revealed that vitamin-D may be an easy and low-cost way to help reduce cancer risk.
Help Prevent Cognitive Decline and Dementia
This Vitamin may play a role in cognitive function and, potentially, the risk of dementia. And study may support this notion that vitamin-D may help clear up amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Provide Relief for Symptoms of Autoimmune Conditions
According to Harvard University studies, it has long showed the potential effect that vitamin-D may have on autoimmune disorders because of the nutrient’s role in regulating the immune system.
Vitamin-D plays a key role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood which are vital for maintaining healthy bones.
And this vitamin is needed to allow the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium and reclaim calcium that the kidneys would otherwise excrete.
Also, it’s deficiency in children can cause rickets, that leads to a severely bowlegged appearance due to the softening of the bones.
Similarly, it deficiency in adults causes osteomalacia, or softening of the bones. And osteomalacia results in poor bone density and muscular weakness.
How Does Vitamin D Affect the Immune System?
“Vitamin D is very important for proper immune function,” Habib Sadeghi, DO, founder of Be Hive of Healing Integrative Medical Center in Agoura Hills, CA, and author of The Clarity Cleanse, told POPSUGAR. “As an immunomodulator, it’s central to regulating the body’s immune response by interacting with immune cells that produce vitamin D-activating enzymes.
In this way, vitamin-D ensures the immune system remains in balance and reacts appropriately to various threats.”
What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Vitamin D?
While healthy levels of vitamin-D can do wonders for your body’s defense system, not having enough of this immune-boosting micronutrient can put you in dangerous territory. According to Dr. Sadeghi, a large portion of the population is believed to be D deficient, with people of color being at even greater risk. That’s obviously not good news.
“People with low vitamin-D levels have been found to have a higher susceptibility of chronic infections and autoimmune disease,” Dr. Sadeghi explained.
He also noted the connection between vitamin-D and lack of sunlight, which has been shown to lead to a number of increased illnesses. “People who live in places with fewer daylight hours are more susceptible to certain kinds of cancer, such as colon cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer. This is likely due to a lack of vitamin-D,” Dr. Sadeghi said
How Can I Get More Vitamin D?
First, take advantage of those eased stay-at-home restrictions and be sure you get a bit of natural sunlight. Even 30 minutes can make a significant difference in your body’s production of the sunshine vitamin. “Don’t overdo it, because too much sun damages DNA in skin cells and actually suppresses immunity,” Dr. Sadeghi said.
Vitamin-D is also present in many foods. Dr. Sadeghi recommends wild caught salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, low-sugar yogurt, cheese, and egg yolks. There’a also a ton of vitamin-D in canned tuna.
If you’re concerned you may not be getting adequate vitamin-D from the environment or your diet, “always get your current levels checked by your doctor first before starting supplementation