Why do we need vitamin D? Learn how and why is vitamin D important for your health and all the health benefits you get from it.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our overall health. It is also known as sunshine vitamin because our body produces it after exposure to the sun, and is also a group of fat-soluble prohormones.
It has two major forms: Vitamin D2 (or Argocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (or Cholecylciferol). When the skin is exposed to sunlight, the process of formation of vitamin D begins in the body. It helps to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which helps to keep the bones of the body strong, in the absence of which the bones are weak and can also break.
It also protects against diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis. A study report has found that vitamin D triggers the body’s immune cells to produce antibodies. Therefore, it promotes an overall increase in immune system strength. It also plays an important role in protecting our body from many diseases. The lack of vitamin D in the body can prove to be dangerous for health. Therefore it is very important to keep a track of its levels so that deficiency can be recognized.
Vitamin D Health Benefits:
1. Supports Healthy Bones
Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, the lack of which can cause bones to become brittle or thin. The lack of vitamin D in children can develop the condition called rickets, which causes bone weakness, bowed legs, and other skeletal deformities, such as stooped posture.
2. Reduces Cancer risk
Certain long term studies have shown that adequate amount of vitamin D can lower the risk of cancer. There have been studies which have also shown that people living in sunnier parts of the world had lower rates of cancer and fewer deaths from the disease than places that got less sun.
3. Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk
Researches have shown that Vitamin D deficient people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than those who had adequate levels. The deficiency of this particular vitamin is common among older adults, partly because the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun decreases with age. We should ensure that our bodies get the right amount of this vitamin, because the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia may increase.
4. Decreases Cardiovascular Disease
The low levels of vitamin D is linked to heart disease, congestive heart failure and also high blood pressure because it plays a role in reducing plaque buildup associated with heart disease. Low levels are also linked to heart disease risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. A 2008 study showed that the lack of vitamin D increased the chances of heart attacks in men.
It increases an enzyme called renin which regulates the amount of blood and other fluid that goes through veins and arteries. Hence low levels of vitamin D and renin can negatively affect blood pressure.
5. Protects against Diabetes
Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and hence reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Some scientist also believe that it may help regulate the production of insulin in the pancreas.
6. Boost Immunity
We all know that vitamin C is to be taken when it comes to boosting the immunity system, but vitamin D also plays a critical role in keeping your immune system strong. Recent researches have found that this vitamin also helps prevent all types of autoimmune diseases. Low levels may contribute to chronic inflammatory illnesses including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and cirrhosis.
7. Reduces Depression
Vitamin D is said to affect the function of our two “happiness neurotransmitters,” dopamine and norepinephrine. Researchers behind a 2013 meta-analysis noticed that study participants with depression also had low vitamin D levels. The researchers believe that since this vitamin is important for a healthy brain function, insufficient levels or deficiency may play a role in depression and other mental illnesses.
Health Effects Due To Lack of Vitamin D:
How Much Vitamin D Is Required Per Day:
The sun is considered the best source of vitamin D, but not all children and adults who are exposed enough to sunlight.
They need to take around 800 to 1000 IU units (marked vitamin 800 D) every day.
Food Sources of Vitamin D: