A guide on all the Vitamin D benefits you should know about
For many people, vitamin D is simply the vitamin that comes in milk. Most of us are taught to drink our milk or get some source of dairy in our diet because it contains vitamin D. We get this message because of the vitamin D benefits that come with such an easy source.
But how many of us know all the vitamin D benefits? It seems that most probably understand that vitamin D is good for strong bones, but vitamin D benefits are wide-ranging. Like all vitamins and minerals, vitamin D benefits go well beyond any one part of the body.
But what exactly is vitamin D? How do we get vitamin D, and what is the amount of vitamin D we should consume on any given day? What are the sources of vitamin D? What are the consequences of not getting enough vitamin D? This guide will give you all the information you need to understand vitamin D and make sure you include the right foods for sufficient amounts of vitamin D and get all the vitamin D benefits.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is not an area vitamin. It is a fat-soluble secosteroid that is absorbed through the intestines with the help of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.
Often called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the skin in response to sunlight. What we call vitamin D is a class of compounds that includes vitamin D-1, D-2, and D-3. Our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight. With the help of the above minerals, we produce enough vitamin D to stay healthy.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in several natural functions. It is important to the proper function of the immune system. And vitamin D is central to the healthy growth of bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps protect against some specific diseases.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to some serious problems. These include developmental abnormalities of the bones, soft bones, and fragile bones, or osteoporosis.
Benefits Vitamin D
The fact foods are fortified with vitamin D should make it clear that it is a necessary part of our daily nutrition. Vitamin D is central to maintaining good health. Vitamin D provides a host of benefits. Some of these benefits include:
Vitamin D is crucial to the proper regulation of calcium in the body and maintains the proper level of phosphorus in the blood. These factors are important to healthy bones and bone development.
Vitamin D allows the intestines to absorb calcium and reclaim calcium from the kidneys. Without vitamin D, calcium would simply be excreted from the body. Calcium is one of the key factors in healthy bones.
Children who do not get enough vitamin D have bones that develop improperly and will get soft bones, a condition called osteomalacia. In adults, not enough vitamin D results in weak and brittle bones. We know this as osteoporosis.
Reduces your risk of the flu
A review of several studies showed that vitamin D can reduce your risk of contracting influenza.
Boosts infant health
The health of infants depends on vitamin D in several ways. For starters, insufficient vitamin D in infants has been linked to high blood pressure. This is due to stiffness in the arterial walls that come from a vitamin D deficiency in infants.
Other studies have shown that insufficient vitamin D in infants leads to the development of allergies. An increase in allergic sensitivities is linked to a lack of vitamin D. Researchers discovered this link by observing children who live near the equator where they are exposed to massive amounts of sunlight. These children showed almost no signs of allergies and the incidence of epinephrine injections is extremely low.
Finally, the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D have been linked to a lower rate of asthma among children who get proper amounts of vitamin D.
Doctors now know that a lack of vitamin D during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of preeclampsia and premature birth. Preeclampsia is a condition during pregnancy where there is a sudden rise in blood pressure and swelling, mostly in the face, hands, and feet.
Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has also been linked to gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in women.
Most of the primary benefits of vitamin D are well-known. But recent research has linked vitamin D with protection against diseases. Vitamin d has been shown to help resist the development of multiple sclerosis and it helps reduce the chances of childhood flu.
Some recent research shows that vitamin D has a positive impact on moods. One study demonstrated that vitamin D fights depressions. Researchers found that people suffering from depression who were given vitamin D supplements showed significant improvements in their symptoms.
Another study found that people who suffer from anxiety and depression all had a vitamin D deficiency. This suggests that vitamin D is linked to the development of both anxiety and depression.
Helps you lose weight
If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to consider including a vitamin D supplement in your regimen. There is evidence that vitamin D helps people lose weight.
A recent study showed that people who are taking calcium and vitamin D supplements experienced a collateral effect of reduced appetite. This helped them lose more weight in less time.
The fact that vitamin D helps you lose weight has led researchers to link vitamin D with improved heart health and reduced risk of heart disease.
Types of Vitamin D
Two types of vitamin D work in the body. These are both fat-soluble compounds that can be stored in the body for a long time. The two types of dietary vitamin D include:
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in some animal foods, like fatty fish and egg yolks.
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Found in some plants, mushrooms, and yeasts.
Of the two types of vitamin D, D 3 (cholecalciferol) is almost twice as effective at increasing levels in the blood of vitamin D.
Sources of Vitamin D
The most common way to get vitamin D is by getting enough sunlight. Vitamin D is produced in the skin by reacting with sunlight. This, of course, require sufficient minerals and other nutrients to work correctly
Several foods are rich in vitamin D. Some of these foods include:
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver
- Fortified milk
- Fortified cereals and juices
Again, the best way to get enough vitamin D is by being out in the sun. Simply by spending some time in the sun our bodies can produce all the vitamin d we need in a day. Some tips for getting vitamin D from sunlight include:
- 15 minutes for a person with light skin
- A couple of hours for a person with dark skin
Very few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D, so people can ensure they get enough of the vitamin by scheduling regular time outdoors.
When the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit a person’s skin, processes inside the tissue start making vitamin D for the body to use. It is essential to remember, however, that too much sun exposure can burn the skin and potentially lead to skin cancer.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, which is one of the main building blocks of bone. The body also needs vitamin D to keep the nerves, muscles, and immune system working properly.
Deficiency of Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem. Though not as prevalent in western countries as it once was, vitamin d deficiency still occurs for a variety of reasons.
Some of the common causes of vitamin D deficiency can include:
Darker skin and the overuse of sunscreen can reduce the body’s ability to absorb the ultraviolet radiation B rays that are necessary to produce vitamin D.
Sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30 or higher will inhibit your body's ability to properly absorb sunlight for the production of vitamin D. Some sunscreens can inhibit the absorption of ultraviolet B rays by as much as 95 percent.
People who live in northern regions or areas with high pollution levels can suffer from vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight. People who work night shifts and those who are homebound can also suffer from this problem.
Children who are exclusively breastfed should get some kind of vitamin D supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed infants receive 400 IU per day of oral vitamin D.
We can always make up for a lack of sunlight and vitamin D by taking a vitamin D supplement. However, doctors recommend that we get our vitamin D through natural sources since these are the most readily usable by the human body.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency range from mild to severe. Some of the common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Regular sickness or infection
- Bone and back pain
- Low mood
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
Long-term vitamin D deficiency can lead to some severe illnesses. These illnesses include:
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Autoimmune problems
- Neurological diseases
- Pregnancy complications
- Certain cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon.
The good news is that it is now easy to get all the vitamin D you need. Even those who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency can get vitamin D from natural and fortified food sources, as well as supplements.
Vitamin D dosage
Vitamin D is generally measured in micrograms or international units (IU). One microgram is equal to 40 IU. The recommended dosage of vitamin D is relative to age.
- Infants 0–12 months: 400 IU (10 mcg).
- Children 1–18 years: 600 IU (15 mcg).
- Adults up to 70 years: 600 IU (15 mcg).
- Adults over 70 years: 800 IU (20 mcg).
- Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU (15 mcg).
You can generally get enough vitamin D from sunlight by exposing your skin to the sun for about 5-10 minutes a day, 2-3 times a week. Vitamin D breaks down quickly and needs to be replenished regularly. Take extra care to get vitamin D during the winter months when sunlight is diminished.
Vitamin D Side Effects
The only issue with vitamin D is getting too much of it. The upper limit of how much vitamin D you should get in a day is 4000 IU. Beyond this, there are a few side effects to take note of. These include:
Again, you should be able to get all the vitamin D you need from sunlight. If you take a vitamin D supplement, just be aware of how much you are taking at any given time and adjust accordingly.
Spartan Detox Vitamins
Spartan Detox Vitamins provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. These support your detox while it is in progress and provide sound nutrition to help your body regain its natural balance. There are a lot of benefits to consuming vitamins. They range from a stronger immune system and overall a healthier lifestyle. Many of us are always on the go and rarely have the time to take in the proper nutrients our body needs to boost our immune system.
For many of us, our knowledge of vitamin D comes from the common milk container. We all have the sense that vitamin D is good for us, but we may not know the extent of how beneficial vitamin D can be.
Vitamin D is involved in some of the most important functions in the body. Everything from fighting common diseases to our basic moods can depend in part on sufficient amounts of vitamin D in our diets.
If for some reason you cannot get enough vitamin D in your diet, there are some great vitamin D supplements. Spartan Detox offers vitamins in the detox smoothies and juices that can supplement your vitamin D intake. Not getting enough vitamin D can have serious consequences. Eating a healthy balanced diet is always the best way to get all vitamins and minerals. But a healthy vitamin D supplement from Spartan Detox can help you get all the vitamin D you need.