Vitamin D - the nickname "sunshine vitamin" is due to its ability to be absorbed by the body through sunlight - is an important player in keeping the human body healthy. Its main function is to promote calcium absorption. Which makes it necessary for bone growth and bone remodeling (when mature bone tissue is removed and new bone tissue is formed). Because of this, vitamin D deficiency can lead to thin, brittle or deformed bones. But vitamin D also offers a number of other benefits, ranging from positive for both physical and mental health.
Here are nine vitamin D benefits you need to know about. Including ways to get more of the vitamin into your daily diet.
Vitamin D strengthens your bones
Vitamin D is known for its bone-building and strengthening powers. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the intestine, which ultimately allows for normal mineralization of your bones. Basically, calcium that benefits your bones would not be able to do its job without vitamin D. "You need vitamin D for bone growth - and to prevent bones from becoming brittle." In combination with calcium, it can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that means the density and quality of bone is reduced.
Vitamin D can help strengthen muscles
Along with its bone-building ability, vitamin D also has the power to strengthen muscles. "Lack of vitamin D in the body can increase the risk of having weak muscles, which in turn increases the risk of falls." This is especially important for the elderly. Vitamin D can help increase muscle strength and thus prevent falls. Which is a common problem that leads to significant disability and death in older adults. "
Vitamin D can support the immune system and fight inflammation
Vitamin D can also help build immunity. It can support the immune system by fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. In fact, this role in preventing infections has become a critical issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because researchers are interested in its potential role in infection outcomes. There is a particular interest in its role in viral infections such as influenza and coronavirus.
Vitamin D reduced the risk of acute respiratory infection with either daily or weekly vitamin D supplementation. Especially in people who lacked it. Studies suggest that high latitudes and the winter season are risk factors for both low vitamin D. Increased influenza and other respiratory diseases and negative results. We now see a similar pattern with higher mortality in COVID-19 infections. Although more research still needs to be done to determine if the link is causal or just a correlation.
Vitamin D can help strengthen oral health
Because vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium, it plays a vital role in supporting oral health. Which reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. A review from 2011, there is an "emerging hypothesis" that the vitamin is beneficial for oral health. Due to its effect on bone metabolism and its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and stimulate the production of antimicrobial peptides.
Vitamin D can help prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Although studies are not conclusive, vitamin D may be helpful in preventing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. One such study found that while vitamin D itself did not effectively reduce the risk of excess sugar in the blood. A combined daily intake of> 1200 mg of calcium and> 800 IU of vitamin D can effectively reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D can help treat high blood pressure
Vitamin D may play a role in the treatment of high blood pressure - one of the markers of cardiovascular disease. Even short-term vitamin D deficiency can directly raise blood pressure. Due to the high correlation between vitamin D and high blood pressure, vitamin D supplement therapy may be a new insight into the treatment of high blood pressure.
Vitamin D can help you lose weight
Obesity is a known risk factor for low vitamin D levels - which means that more vitamin D can help with weight loss. A study showed that in overweight or obese women with low calcium levels: Those who took a daily dose of calcium in combination with vitamin D were more successful in losing weight than those who took placebo supplements, due to an "appetite suppressant effect" of the combination.
Vitamin D can help fight depression
The sun can brighten your mood, and so can vitamin D. According to a 2017 review article in the journal Neuropsychology, researchers found "a significant link between depression and vitamin D deficiency." While acknowledging that more research is needed to define the exact function of it. For example, if low vitamin D levels are a cause or effect of depression. The authors recommend screening for and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in people with depression. And note that it is a simple, cost-effective and can improve the outcome of depression ".
Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Various studies - most of which are referred to on National Cancer Institutes (NCI) - which provides some evidence that vitamin D may have anti-cancer powers. Evidence is growing that vitamin D supplements can improve cancer outcomes ”. The cancers for which the most human data are available are colorectal, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
NCI specifically mentions some reasons why researchers are interested in a link between vitamin D and a reduced risk of cancer. The organization points out that some research shows that the incidence and mortality of certain cancers was lower among individuals living in southern latitudes. Where exposure levels are relatively high, than among those living in northern latitudes. Although further research needs to be done to find a specific causal relationship or association between more exposure to sunlight and lower risk of cancer.
More experimental evidence, according to the NCI, shows that cancer cells and tumors in mice. Vitamin D has been shown to have several activities that can slow down or prevent the development of cancer cells and tumors in mice. Including promoting cell differentiation, reducing cancer cell growth, stimulating cell death (apoptosis) and reducing tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis).
How to get more vitamin D.
Although readily available through sunlight, certain foods and supplements, many Americans still receive insufficient amounts of vitamin D. Two thirds of the population had enough vitamin D. Since you can not necessarily find out if you have vitamin D deficiency on your own, the best thing you can do is consult an expert. Ideally, the best way to get your vitamin D level in the blood tested is to find out if your vitamin D level in the blood is within the sufficient range. This determines if a supplement is needed to achieve adequate vitamin D status in the blood and if so, the right dose of supplemental vitamin D.
If you find that you are deficient or lack vitamin D intake, there are some important ways to increase your daily dosage. Start by getting around 20 minutes of sunlight several times a week. The main cause of vitamin D deficiency is insufficient exposure to sunlight. But remember: You still need to have sunscreen when you go out - even to get vitamin D.
Vitamin D in foods
Apart from the sun, you can also get extra vitamin D through some (albeit very few) foods. Such as oily fish (including salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines) and fungi (some of which are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light to increase vitamin D levels). Foods such as milk, orange juice, yogurt and breakfast cereals can also be fortified with vitamin D. And of course, you can always go the additional route, in the form of vitamin D3, if your doctor deems it necessary.
Many doctors now believe that a daily dose of 1000-2000 IU D3 is safe and guarantees optimal levels for most adults. When it comes to when to take it, because the vitamin is fat soluble. It is suggested that you pair it with your largest meal of the day, containing fat to ensure maximum absorption. But again, consult your doctor before deciding to try vitamin D in supplement form.