What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that can be produced endogenously by the human body. Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, its production is triggered when the skin is directly exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can be rare to find naturally in foods other than salmon, sardines, shrimp, and egg yolks. As such, some foods, such as milk, cereal, and orange juice, are fortified to contain vitamin D. If you find you are not getting enough vitamin D from sun exposure or your diet, supplements can also be taken to ensure you take advantage of the benefits that vitamin D has to offer. Below, we discuss some of the most important benefits of taking vitamin D.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin D?
Protection Against Respiratory Infections
Acute respiratory tract infections cause approximately five million deaths per year worldwide. These infections affect normal breathing and include illnesses, like the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. While vitamin C is often the vitamin associated with providing protection from the cold and flu, vitamin D has also proven to be effective at protecting against respiratory infections. According to a 2010 study published by the National Library of Medicine, Vitamin D supplements were shown to reduce the likelihood of developing seasonal flu.
Regulate Mood & Reduce Depression
In addition to reducing one’s likelihood of developing a respiratory infection, vitamin D can also play an important role in regulating mood and reducing depression. In a 2008 study, scientists found that patients suffering from depression saw an improvement in their symptoms when they consumed vitamin D supplements. In a separate study from 2006, researchers found that fibromyalgia patients with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to also suffer from anxiety and depression.
Boosts Weight Loss
Of all the vitamin D benefits, this one receives the most attention! Some studies suggest that higher levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream can promote weight loss. A 2014 study showed that women who met their vitamin D requirements lost an average of 7 pounds more than women who did not fulfill those requirements. In another study by the Journal of Women’s Health, a link was identified between women with higher vitamin D levels and less weight gain during the study, which lasted 4.5 years.
Prevents Bone Diseases
Bone diseases, specifically bone-weakening diseases, are a common sign of old age. Luckily, bone degeneration can be slowed down with the right approach. The most effective way to do so is by building and maintaining a high bone density before reaching 30. After your 30s, the body’s bone mass begins to decrease, so emphasis should shift from building to maintaining high bone density. The best way to build and maintain bone density is by ensuring your body gets enough calcium. This is where vitamin D comes in as it can aid in the absorption of calcium. Maintaining proper calcium and vitamin D levels help promote bone health and can prevent osteoporosis.
Take Advantage of Vitamin D’s Benefits
Getting your recommended dosage of vitamin D can provide several health benefits. From protecting against respiratory infections, regulating mood, and preventing bone disease, vitamin D can benefit every aspect of your health. If you feel you are not consuming enough vitamin D or are struggling with weight loss, contact Blue Tree Health. We can help you develop a diet plan that will incorporate more vitamin D, so you can reap the benefits of the sunshine vitamin.