Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D and 5 Benefits You Need to Know

Are you getting enough Vitamin D? We all say that, but I bet most of you do not know why you need it. Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins that affect more than you think. Here are 5 benefits you need to know.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and assists with calcium absorption. In addition, it is essential for immunity and cell growth. Vitamin D is mainly attained through sun exposure and converted from cholesterol in the skin. Two primary forms of Vitamin D are D2 and D3. Although African Americans have lower vitamin D levels because of their darker skin, most Americans fail to get adequate amounts overall. Here are the recommended levels according to the National Institute of Health.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D [1]
AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0-12 months*10 mcg
(400 IU)
10 mcg
(400 IU)
1–13 years15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
14–18 years15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
19–50 years15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
51–70 years15 mcg
(600 IU)
15 mcg
(600 IU)
>70 years20 mcg
(800 IU)
20 mcg
(800 IU)

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Vitamin D is also vital for bone strength and development. Besides these more well-known ways Vitamin D is helpful, there are more unknown ways that vitamin D plays a significant role.

Weight Loss

When paired with calcium, vitamin D can help suppress appetite. There is a strong link between low vitamin D levels and overweight/obesity, according to researchers. It may be associated with excess fat and the absorption of vitamin D in the body.

Respiratory Protection

Although vitamin D is known to reduce the development of the flu (if you didn’t know, now you know), it has recently been suggested to protect against the COVID-19 protection. It helps reduce the inflammatory response while boosting defense against pathogens in the lungs. Vitamin D’s immune response is associated with receptors on immune cells, which maintain immunity to pathogens and prevent autoimmune development.

Credit: https://natura.health/vitamin-d-and-your-lungs/

In addition, vitamin D may be helpful in asthma, COPD, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

Cancer

Vitamin D may reduce the risk of cancer development and slow tumor development. In addition, studies show a reduced mortality rate with efficient vitamin D rates.

Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin D helps control blood pressure, vascular cell growth, and inflammatory pathways. Those deficient in it may have issues with plaque buildup in the arteries because the vitamin helps with the flexibility for movement through the arteries.

Depression

There are vitamin D receptors in the brain, which may explain why people develop seasonal depression in the winter months. When vitamin D is low in the brain, it affects the transmission of serotonin. Serotonin is a known chemical in the brain linked to mood regulation. Low levels are attributed to depression.  One study even found those who received vitamin D supplementation showed an improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Vitamin D Deficiency

There are no immediate recognizable symptoms of deficiency, and it may be experienced over time. Deficient individuals are at risk for muscle and bone weakness. Other health effects of low vitamin D include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and immune system disorders.

Other than the sun, additional vitamin D sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy. Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for those who are not in a sunny climate or vegan.

Now You Know

So, now you know why people focus on the sun and vitamin D. It is not just a fad but an essential way to absorb a nutrient your body cannot make on its own. Try adding more to your diet today; you may feel a little boost of happiness.

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