So why is vitamin D so important and what forms does it come in? What are the benefits?
Yes vitamin D is essential to our health and yes you can get it naturally from exposing your skin to sunshine.
But too much sunshine can do more harm than good and not every location on earth has the luxury of sunshine everyday.
This is why most people turn to a daily vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D comes in three forms, D1, D2, and D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources while vitamin D3 comes from sun to skin exposure. Out of all of these vitamin D forms, D3 is the most important for our health.
When choosing a vitamin D supplement make sure it has sufficient levels of D3.
Vitamin D is fat soluble so it's important to take it with food or a fat source for maximum absorption.
Vitamin D has many crucial responsibilities in the body and it's proper function for optimal health. Vitamin D regulates the uptake of phosphorus and calcium as well as maintaining proper immune system health.
There are many health benefits that vitamin D can offer.
1. Bones And Teeth
Vitamin D is largely involved in the development and maintenance of bone and teeth health. A lack of vitamin D can lead to variety of diseases and health problems whether in the development stage or later on in life. Bones can become soft and breakable from conditions like osteomalacia or osteoporosis.
2. MS Prevention
Vitamin D may be able to reduce your risk of major diseases. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that proper vitamin D intake can decrease your risk of developing multiple sclerosis which is a brain and spinal cord disease that can destroy proper nerve functions. Vitamin-d3-benefits1
3. Heart Health
Your heart may thank you for keeping your vitamin D levels up. According to a study that implemented vitamin D and followed the heart health of the subjects, vitamin D may be able to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Vitamin-d3-benefits2
Another study found that heart disease markers improved with the intake of vitamin D supplements. Vitamin-d3-benefits3
4. Immune System
A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin D intake may be able to decrease the risk of catching the flu and other illnesses. vitamin-d3-benefits4
5. Depression and anxiety
Studies have found vitamin D to be a large player in mood function and fighting depression. A study discovered that when participants took vitamin D supplements that their depression symptoms lessened. vitamin-d3-benefits5
Another study found that participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia overall had a vitamin D deficiency. These participants had higher risk of depression and anxiety symptoms. vitamin-d3-benefits6
6. Weight Loss
In a study where calcium was coupled with vitamin D supplements, participants who took both of these daily successfully lost more weight than those in the placebo supplement group. This weight loss results was concluded to be an appetite reduction effect in those who took the calcium and vitamin D supplements daily. vitamin-d3-benefits7
Vitamin D Deficiency
Head to your doctor for a simple blood test to see if your deficient in vitamin D. Some bone x-rays may be needed if the results are positive to make sure there are no serious bone fractures. It is important to be proactive in discovering whether you or your loved ones are getting enough daily vitamin D as serious problems can occur over time.
Many people don’t get in enough vitamin D due to a variety of reasons. Some of these factors could be:
- Being in an area with high pollution
- Using sunscreen
- Spending more time indoors
- Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
- Having darker skin. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)
All of these factors make it important to take a vitamin D3 supplement if you aren't getting enough natural vitamin D.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Some symptoms that may occur in those who are vitamin D deficient are:
- Aches and pains
- Feeling Tired
- Bone and joint pain when moving
- Muscle pain when moving
- Stress fractures in the lower body.
Vitamin D Doses And Dangers
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences gives guidelines on correct vitamin D amounts daily. This is a good resource to refer to when in doubt.
The recommended doses for children and adults are the same at 600 IU.
For those who are over the age of 70 the recommended dose is 800 IU.
Vitamin D is relatively safe as long as you stay within the recommended doses.
Always consult your doctor before taking any new supplements as they can interfere with medications or cause a serious reaction in certain individuals.
Vitamin D Food Sources
Proper amounts of vitamin D in natural foods are actually not that prominent. This is why many foods are fortified (added vitamin D). Some food sources are:
- egg yolk
- shrimp or krill
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
Although these food sources have some vitamin D, it's tough to tell how much and of what forms. You need a sufficient amount of vitamin D3 each day for optimal health.
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