6 Vitamin D Benefits You Should Know
Vitamin D is a type of vitamin which is a steroid hormone. It is produced from the cholesterol when a person goes out in the sunshine. That is why, vitamin D is called sunshine vitamin. The point to be remembered is that only sunshine cannot provide the amount of vitamin D our body needs for the metabolism. It is necessary to consume vitamin D from either our diet or supplements. The benefits of vitamin D are lesser known because of the fewer options in diet. This article will not be just focusing on the benefits of vitamin D but also its food sources, deficiency and the best known treatment.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which means that it can be dissolved in fats and oils effortlessly. It also has a long duration of storage capacity. Vitamin D is also of two types when it comes to dietary forms:
- Vitamin D2 – It is also called ergocalciferol which is found in plants, mushrooms, and yeasts.
- Vitamin D3 – It is also called cholecalciferol which is found in animal foods (fatty fish and egg yolks)
Vitamin D needs to get converted into its active form to bind with the receptor which shall lead to changes in the cells. Either it gets converted into calcidiol in the liver which acts as the storage form of vitamin or it gets converted into calcitriol in the kidney which is active and steroid hormone form.
SOURCE OF VITAMIN D
Vitamin D is the vitamin which can be consumed by only a few dietary supplements. The average intake of vitamin D should be 1000-4000 international units (iu). Sunshine cannot provide you the adequate amount of vitamin D. Quantity of vitamin D less than 600 iu can lead to vitamin d deficiency. That is why it is important to consume dietary supplements for the adequacy of vitamin D. Some of the food sources which provide vitamin D are:
Cod liver oil – 1 tablespoon – 1360 IU
Salmon – 3 ounces – 447 IU
Tuna – 3 ounces – 154 IU
Beef liver – 3 ounces – 42 IU
Whole egg (including egg yolks) – 1 large – 41 IU
Sardine – 1 – 23 IU
BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D FOR OUR BODY
Vitamin D is very much essential for our body. Because of the fact that our human body cannot produce vitamin D, it becomes important to maintain our dietary supplements.The benefits of vitamin D aren’t bound to maintaining bone health. The health benefits of vitamin D are spread to all over the body. Six of the most important and usually unknown benefits of the vitamin are:
1. MAINTAINS THE BONE HEALTH
Vitamin D is an important source for the regulation of the calcium in our body. Subsequently, it also allows the intestine to absorb the calcium. If the vitamin D doesn’t regulate the calcium then it might be excreted through the kidney. Adequate amount of calcium in the body maintains bone health and keeps the children away from the rickets, adults away from osteomalacia and prevents elders from osteoporosis. Deficiency of vitamin d can lead to the formation of osteoporosis in the body which becomes the major cause for the fractures and broken bones.The consumption of calcium cannot prevent you from the poor bone health because it needs vitamin D for absorption.
2. PREVENTS COGNITIVE DECLINE AND ALZHEIMER’S
Our brain consists of certain vitamin D receptors which tend to play an important role in the prevention of cognitive decline. Studies have shown that vitamin D helps in removing the amyloid plaque which causes Alzheimer's. In the patients who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s, might have a defected vitamin d receptor in brain tissue. This can only be reversed with the consumption of an adequate amount of vitamins. Vitamin D also detoxifies the messenger cells and protects them so that the brain works efficiently in sending and receiving the signals. Deficiency of vitamin D in Alzheimer patients can also lead to the increased risk of hyperparathyroidism.
3. IMPROVES THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
This is the most unusual benefit of vitamin D. It has been observed that people who are fighting with clinical depression are given vitamin d supplements as per medical advice. The evidence is very limited but it has been observed that people who suffer from seasonal depression are also vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency directly affects the working of the serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which focuses on the activity of the good hormone. Serotonin makes sure that it prevents the human body from irritability, antisocial behavior, insomnia and anxiety.
4. MAINTAINS IMMUNE SYSTEM
It has been commonly known that to boost the immune system, vitamin C is the classic go to option. It is true that supplementing yourself with vitamin C reduces the risk of flu and asthma. It is lesser known that vitamin D is also equally important for the better immune system. Vitamin D plays a beneficial role in preventing autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is also known as a natural immune modulator which means that it can regulate the immunological functions affected due to a disease. On the other hand reduced vitamin d levels can lead to chronic inflammatory illness. The diseases which can be prevented by vitamin are multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
5. DECREASES THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
It has been observed that people who are already suffering from either of the cardiovascular diseases are also vitamin d deficient which evidences that vitamin D is clearly related to the heart. The deficiency can lead to congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and chronic blood vessels. Vitamin D tends to increase the production of an enzyme called rennin. Rennin is an enzyme which regulates the quantity of blood and fluids which goes through veins and arteries. Rennin also plays a great role in balancing the constriction of the arteries which affects the blood pressure of an individual.
6. REDUCES THE RISK OF CANCER
Cancer is majorly caused by the mutation in the tumor suppressor genes. Vitamin D does not make sure that there will not be any chance of cancer but it reduces the risk of cancers. People who are prone to cancer due to genetic disposition are advised to increase the consumption of vitamin D. Cancers like skin cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer can develop in a person due to the lack of sunshine or vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body to promote cellular differentiation so that cells can become specialized for specific functions. It also decreases the growth of cancer in a cellular level and further replication. Vitamin D also stimulates the death of cancer cells and reduces the formation of tumor blood vessels.
DEFICIENCY OF VITAMIN D
Vitamin D deficiency has become a growing problem since the advancement of the era because of the negligence of the same in a balanced diet. Deficiency of vitamin D does not showcase any symptom at the initial stage because of the subtle activity of the vitamin. The growth of the deficiency makes it visible that the body is going through some deficiency. An individual starts developing bone related diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis. There might be sudden fracture in the bone which might be an indicative signal to the deficiency of vitamin D. Not only this vitamin D deficient people also have a greater risk of heart diseases, cancer, dementia, autoimmune diseases and many more.
Treatment of the deficiency is only the intake of the vitamin. Doctors will advise you to consume vitamin d from foods as well as the supplements. It is a necessity that you incorporate vitamin D in your balanced diet.
As mentioned above in the article, it has been clearly mentioned that vitamin D has loads of benefits which can improve the lifestyle of an individual. Vitamin D also focuses on curbing and preventing various diseases. A balanced diet is a mixture of nutrients which shall contain every macro and micronutrient in an adequate amount. It has become a necessity to know the benefits and repercussions of any type of nutrient. Similarly, vitamin D plays a great role in managing your body. If you’re deficient then you can go for alternative options such as vitamin D supplements. It is all about how you manage your balanced diet.