Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping the body healthy and strong. It is mainly obtained through direct exposure to sunlight, hence the nickname ‘the sunshine vitamin.’ Vitamin D can also be obtained from certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate vitamins in the bloodstream.
Many people choose to take vitamin D supplements due to limited exposure to sunlight or not eating enough foods that naturally carry the supplement. Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is Necessary for Bone Health
Vitamin D is vital for bone formation and strength by promoting the absorption of calcium in the gut. Calcium is essential for bone health, but it needs vitamin D for effective functioning. Individuals with insufficient vitamin D are at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
Vitamin D Strengthens the Immune System
Vitamin D can support the immune system by fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. Studies found out that those individuals who took their weekly vitamin D supplements had reduced risks of developing an acute respiratory infection. Additionally, vitamin D has been found to reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, flu, and heart diseases. Thus, vitamin D supplements are essential in promoting overall health.
Prevention of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
While there is no clear evidence about its effectiveness, vitamin D may reduce type 1 and 2 diabetes. Some studies found that vitamin D combined with calcium can help reduce type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D Reduces Depression
Studies show that vitamin D reduces depression by regulating the mood of an individual. One research found out that for people with depression who received vitamin D, symptoms decreased significantly. They also found out that vitamin D was insufficient in people who receive frequent episodes of anxiety.
Vitamin D Helps in Weight Loss
Adding vitamin D supplements to diets can help in reducing weight. According to a British Journal of Nutrition study, overweight individuals who took an adequate amount of calcium paired with vitamin D supplements were more successful in reducing weight than individuals who took placebo supplements. Vitamin D has an appetite-suppressing effect that reduces the number of calories ingested.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Many factors affect a person’s ability to get sufficient levels of vitamin D. Just relying on the natural absorption from the sun is not enough. Adults who lack adequate amounts of vitamin D may show the following symptoms:
- Tiredness, aches, and pains, or a general sense of not feeling well,
- Bone or muscle pain and weakness that can cause difficulty walking and moving,
- Increased risk of stress fractures in the legs, pelvis, or hips.
This can easily be diagnosed at the doctor’s by a simple blood test, and if the results come back showing a deficiency, your doctor may order x-rays to check the strength of your bones. Your doctor may even suggest you start taking vitamin D supplements to help boost your intake.
How Much Vitamin D is too Much?
While there has been a lot of controversy over the amount of vitamin D needed, research indicates that the body needs more vitamin D than initially thought.
- Children and teens: 180 mcg,
- Adults up to age 70: 180 mcg,
- Adults over 70: 240 mcg,
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 180 mcg
It’s important to remember that too much vitamin D built up in your system can cause elevated blood levels, elevated blood calcium levels, poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, and stomach pain. Please speak to a professional before adding vitamin D to your daily supplements.