Firstly, what is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. This means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb this vitamin and keep it from being used within the body.
It’s somewhat different than other vitamins because the body makes most of it on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.
How does our body make Vitamin D?
When you sit in the sun unexposed, without sunscreen, for roughly 10 minutes, you likely absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. However, keep in mind that this amount differs from person to person, depending on skin tone.
Melanin is a substance that affects how light or dark your skin colour is, and the more melanin you have in your body, the darker your skin colour will be. Melanin gets released when we are exposed to the ultraviolet rays of sunshine. The amount of melanin you have in your skin affects the amount of D vitamin you can produce, so the fairer your skin, the more easily you can make it.
The cholesterol in the skin converts melanin into usable vitamin D to be distributed throughout the body. This is why, for many people, a slight to moderate rise in cholesterol levels can be experienced in the winter months when there is less exposure to sunshine since it’s common to spend much more time indoors.
Benefits of Vitamin D31. Contributes to Bone Health
Vitamin D plays a role in calcium absorption into the bones. Calcitriol (converted D vitamin) works with the parathyroid hormone to maintain calcium levels.
Additionally, it has an effect on other important vitamins and minerals that contribute to both health, including vitamin K and phosphorus. Vitamin D is partially responsible for maintaining phosphorus levels in the blood, and since it affects calcium’s ability to bind to proteins, it’s believed that it’s also linked to vitamin K.
A deficiency in vitamin D can result in the softening of your bones, which is called osteomalacia, or a bone abnormality called rickets. Additionally, a deficiency increases your risk of developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures or broken bones.2. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes symptoms result from a lack of insulin or inadequate insulin secretion following increases in insulin resistance. According to research conducted at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, calcium is necessary for insulin secretion, and vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and utilisation, therefore contributing to the regulation of insulin secretion.3. Enhances the Immune System
This vitamin helps with healthy cell replication and may play a role in protecting against the development of autoimmune conditions in addition to less serious common colds and the flu.
Our immune cells contain receptors for vitamin D, and it’s been shown that this vitamin seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses.4. Facilitates Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Mood
Because it acts like a hormone within our bodies and affects brain function, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depression, seasonal affective disorder, and severe mood problems experienced during PMS, insomnia and anxiety.
Low levels can also interfere with proper testosterone and estrogen production, leading to imbalances that can result in many unwanted symptoms.5. Combats Heart Disease
A growing number of research points to the fact that vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risks for cardiovascular disease since it’s involved in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation.
As you have just read, Vitamin D has many benefits that are relevant to many of us. At present, our immunity is at the forefront of our minds with the current pandemic. In addition, I think I speak for many that prevention of heart disease, managing our blood sugar and improving our mood is really important these days. Diabetes and heart disease in on the rise and we all need to take note.
I personally believe in prevention and living optimally. If you have a family history with any of these health concerns mentioned above, why wait until you start getting some of the symptoms? Prevent the health issues and live optimally today. Don't settle for just scraping by!
Thanks and stay healthy!
Content credit to Dr Axe.