Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for human health. This miraculous vitamin has been found to be an essential supplement for warding off illness and protecting nearly every aspect of the body. Vitamin D, also called the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin makes it when exposed to sunlight, is essential to your health. The fat-soluble vitamin is thought to be essential for the proper digestion of calcium and phosphorus, 2 minerals that work together to support bones and promote healthy immune system function. The health of your teeth and bones as well as your immunity to illness, depend on you getting enough vitamin D during childhood and adulthood. Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about vitamin D, you’ll find out just how much more the sunlight vitamin can do for you. Let’s begin by exploring its function in the human body.
What exactly is the function of vitamin D?
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and other bone-building elements. Excess weight, depression, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems have all been related to insufficient vitamin D levels. The skin needs to be exposed to adequate sunshine in order to manufacture vitamin D internally. Certain meals provide enough levels of vitamin D, but sunlight is still the greatest source. A lack of vitamin D can lead to malnutrition in young kids and osteomalacia in adults. Both of these conditions are characterized by weak, fragile bones.
There are three forms of vitamin D, all of which are fat-soluble vitamins. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body creates vitamin D on its own. To maintain healthy vitamin D levels in the blood, you can also receive them via eating particular foods and taking pills. Vitamin D serves multiple crucial purposes. Facilitating appropriate immune system activity and controlling calcium and phosphorus intake are two of the most important.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to abnormalities in bone and tooth formation, as well as a lowered immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Read on to learn more about vitamin D, including its advantages, potential drawbacks, recommended daily intake, and food sources.
Following are the advantages of Vitamin D:
Perhaps vitamin D can prevent vision issues
Protection of one’s eyesight is among vitamin D’s most crucial uses. We lose some of our eyesight with age, but maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D may help stave off further decline. Retinal illness, a common sign of aging, may be alleviated as a result.
Taking Vitamin D May Aid in Muscle Fatigue Spasms
Because of its role in calcium absorption, vitamin D is crucial for healthy muscle function and strength. Muscle pain is one of the earliest symptoms of vitamin D insufficiency and rickets. If you experience any unusual hand or foot cramping or spasms, you shouldn’t just brush them off.
Adequate Vitamin D lowers bad cholesterol
Vitamin D helps in many ways, one of which is by reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol. The cholesterol levels of postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese may benefit from consuming calcium and vitamin D combined, according to several studies. The benefits of vitamin D on heart health have been postulated despite a lack of proof.
Potential aid in the fight against persistent headaches
Scientists found that those with the fewest concentrations of vitamin D were over twice as likely to experience chronic headaches as those with the top levels, according to their findings published in the journal Scientific Reports. It has been suggested that vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory effects could be useful in reducing the inflammation that sets off migraine and headache attacks.
Vitamin D may aid in fat burning
Having a vitamin D level that’s optimal for your body has been connected to slimming down. A study in the Nutrition Journal found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with smaller increases in lean body mass. Vitamin D has been hypothesized to inhibit the production of new fat cells. It may also inhibit fat cell storage, which would further limit weight gain. One risk factor for a lack of vitamin D is being overweight.
In one study, participants in the vitamin D supplement group lost more pounds and fat mass than those in the diet group who got a placebo. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation resulted in greater weight loss than placebo in an older trial. The researchers hypothesize that the increased calcium and vitamin D levels helped reduce food intake.
Existing evidence does not lend credence to the claim that increasing vitamin D levels will result in weight loss.
Potential mood regulator and anti-depressant effect of vitamin D
Vitamin D has been linked to improved mood and a lower incidence of depression, according to studies. In a study involving 7,534 participants, individuals with low moods who took vitamin D tablets reported feeling better. Individuals suffering from depression with a vitamin D deficiency may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement. Insufficient vitamin D levels have been linked in other research to increased fibromyalgia pain, stress, and depression.
Scientists claim that a person’s vitamin D concentration may indeed have an impact on the likelihood of seasonal depression, while the effect of vitamin D in helping prevent or treat clinical depression is currently unclear due to insufficient studies. Vitamin D production drops in the winter as a result of reduced sunlight, which may influence serotonin activity and contribute to seasonal affective disorder. When you run for a long time, eat chocolate, or grasp the hand of the individual you love, your brain releases serotonin. The body produces this hormone when you want to experience happiness. World Psychiatry explains that low mood and an increased risk of mood disorders can result from a disruption in serotonin levels. Foroutan explains that vitamin D pills may be recommended by doctors for those suffering from SAD.
While previous research into vitamin D’s efficacy as a treatment for depression has yielded conflicting results, a new study indicates promising outcomes. Vitamin D intake of 2,000 IU per day or more may help alleviate depressing symptoms, according to a meta-analysis. Experts, however, said that they had “extremely low certainty” in their findings. The results of an earlier investigation were contradictory. Vitamin D supplementation was not associated with a reduction in the frequency of depressive symptoms, according to a study published in JAMA in August 2020.
Antibody production and function
Getting enough vitamin D may help your immune system do its job and lower your risk of developing auto-immune disorders.
Some studies have linked vitamin D levels to better immune function. More research is needed to validate the link, but some scientists think that vitamin D insufficiency over time may contribute to the onset of inflammatory diseases like diabetes, breathing problems, and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D has been demonstrated to improve human cell immunological responses in test tubes, but these results have not been replicated in randomized human trials.
Vitamin D has the potential to fend off respiratory illnesses
If your vitamin D levels are low, raising them may help you avoid getting as sick with colds and the flu. Even more so, studies suggest that vitamin D insufficiency may impair COVID-19 results. Vitamin D supplementation may protect against adverse outcomes connected to COVID-19, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled studies. Even though not all studies found a clear benefit from supplementation, one meta-analysis of 25 randomized, clinical studies that included approximately 11,300 individuals indicates that those with vitamin D deficiency have seen a 12 % lower risk for respiratory illnesses after choosing to take a multivitamin. In February of 2017, the study’s results were published in The BMJ.
Where do we run into the most significant restrictions? The results may have been skewed since researchers did not know whether or whether the individuals had taken a flu vaccine or were confirmed with chronic obstructive lung disease, two potential confounding factors. An editorial published alongside the study in The BMJ urges readers to view the results with caution, argues against routine vitamin D administration throughout the year, and requests more study.
It Contributes to Lower Cancer Mortality
Vitamin D’s potential function in cancer prevention is receiving more and more attention from scientists. Vitamin D may be a simple and inexpensive strategy to help lower cancer risk, according to a study of 63 observational studies that examined the possible connection between colon cancer, bowel cancer, and prostate cancer. Researchers in the VITAL experiment also analyzed vitamin D’s potential impact on cancer. Overall, participants’ cancer risks were not found to be lowered by the vitamin. Vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 25% reduction in mortality among people who eventually got cancer. Additionally, the results suggested a decreased risk of cancer in African Americans, however, the researchers cautioned that more research was required to draw any firm conclusions. A lower vitamin D level was linked to a higher likelihood of breast cancer in African-American and Latina women, according to a small new study in Cancer in July 2022.
The NIH does not currently suggest vitamin D supplementation to assist lower the risk of cancer due to contradictory science and a lack of randomized, controlled trials.
What are the risks associated with taking too much vitamin D?
Vitamin D should not be taken in excess of 4,000 international units (IU) per day, as recommended by healthcare specialists (Source). Toxicity from vitamin D is possible, but the NIH says it’s highly uncommon at daily dosages of 10,000 IU or less. Incorrect supplement doses and medical mistakes are the most common causes of vitamin D poisoning. Hypercalcemia, or an abnormally high blood calcium level, is a potential side effect of taking vitamin D in large doses. This can cause the tissues of the kidneys, lungs, and circulation to harden, as well as calcification of the skeleton. Hypercalcemia is potentially fatal and needs emergency medical care right away.
It is possible to take too much vitamin D in supplement form. Because your body controls how much vitamin D it makes from sun exposure, getting too much of it by diet or sun damage is quite uncommon.
The Bottom Line
There are several possible advantages to getting enough vitamin D. Potential benefits include lowered illness risk, enhanced mental health, alleviated emotional distress, and weight control. If you’re concerned that you aren’t getting adequate vitamin D in your diet, consider getting a blood test and talking to your doctor about vitamin D supplements. Exposed skin creates vitamin D in the bloodstream. Vitamin D can be found in a variety of food and supplement sources. The vitamin is critical for healthy bones, teeth, and immune systems. Disorders including calcium deficiency illness and hyperparathyroidism (a hormonal imbalance that causes high blood calcium levels) can result from not getting enough vitamin D.