Some people refer to vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” with good cause. This vital component isn’t a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone produced by your body in response to sunlight.
However, receiving enough vitamin D, whether through sun exposure or dietary methods, is critical to maintaining your body’s numerous systems functioning properly. From your teeth to your immune system, this vitamin is beneficial. Here are six ways vitamin D is good for you and how you may obtain more of it.
Vitamin D and Its Health Benefits
While western medicine compartmentalizes the human body — take this pill for your eyes and this one for your heart — the reality is far more complex. Nutrients, like everything else you put in your body, have an impact on multiple systems. Here are six ways vitamin D can help your body.
1. It stimulates the production of endorphins.
Endorphins are natural body chemicals that act similarly to opioids but without the negative side effects, reducing pain and elevating mood. According to one 2007 study, the popularity of tanning beds stemmed from the rush of this feel-good hormone that people experienced when exposed to ultraviolet light. Many addictions can be helped by correcting an underlying vitamin D deficiency.
2. It’s critical for bone health
When you think of nutrients that help your bones, calcium is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, your body cannot absorb that mineral unless it has adequate vitamin D stores. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut, assisting you in maintaining the optimal serum calcium and phosphorus concentrations for normal bone mineralization.
Vitamin D is also required for bone formation and remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Inadequate intake of this nutrient can lead to brittle bones and frequent fractures. It also raises your chances of developing osteoporosis.
3. It strengthens the immune system
Vitamin D affects immune system cells, assisting them in the treatment of infections. Even before scientists fully understood the benefits of this nutrient, they unwittingly used sunlight and vitamin D-rich cod liver oil to treat tuberculosis. Individuals who are deficient are more likely to become infected.
Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and lupus may all be exacerbated by vitamin D deficiency. Reduced maternal intake of this nutrient during pregnancy raises the likelihood that your child will develop one of these disorders.
Some researchers believe that having a high vitamin D level may reduce your chances of contracting severe COVID-19. Although the evidence is mixed, it can’t hurt to spend more time outside or eat foods high in this nutrient.
4. It has anti-inflammatory properties
Vitamin D aids in the reduction of inflammation, particularly that which is frequently associated with autoimmune disorders. It inhibits the proliferation of pro-inflammatory cells and regulates the production of inflammatory cytokines. It may also play a role in atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease, asthma, chronic kidney disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
5. It enhances heart function
A growing body of research suggests that a lack of vitamin D may play a role in heart attacks and strokes. The 2018 VITAL study, on the other hand, shows that excessive supplementation is potentially dangerous.
What’s the bottom line? Everything requires a certain amount of balance. Excess amounts may increase the risk of blood calcification, resulting in plaque formation in your arteries, especially if you also take calcium supplements. If you do decide to supplement, make sure you don’t go above the current RDA (RDA).
6. It aids in muscle growth
Some research indicates a link between vitamin D supplementation and increased muscle strength. High levels of this nutrient in the bloodstream may reduce injury rates and improve athletic performance.
How to Get More Vitamin D
Now that you know how important vitamin D is for your health, how can you increase your intake without overdoing it? Here are three approaches:
- Go Outside – The simplest and possibly most effective way to get your vitamin D is also the most cost-free. Allow yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight exposure per day — more is better. This method does not allow for overdosing. Your body will not produce more than it requires.
- Improve Your Diet – If you eat seafood, you’re in luck. This nutrient is abundant in fish such as cod, tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines. It’s also found in mushrooms and eggs. Many manufacturers fortify prepared foods with this nutrient, but whole foods are preferred whenever possible.
- Vitamin D Supplements – It can be found in almost any grocery or health food store. Please don’t overdo it; stick to the suggested amount.
Vitamin D Is Beneficial to the Body in a Variety of Ways!
The sunshine vitamin is beneficial to many different systems in your body. Start getting more of it by following a few simple steps!