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Vitamin D Benefits to Your Health

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the maintenance of your overall health. From strengthening the bones to increasing immune function, vitamin D holds numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.   

Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function, and brain cell activity. Vitamin D is well-known for building and maintaining healthy bones but it is also beneficial for emotional stability and mental alertness.

How the Body Produces Vitamin D

Your body makes vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol). It takes only 10 minutes of sitting in the sunshine to get your daily dose.  

The amount of vitamin D your skin produces may vary depending on the time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation. Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production may decrease or be completely absent during the winter months.  

Often older adults do not get enough exposure to sunlight and have trouble absorbing vitamin D. If you suspect you’re not getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor for a blood test that can check the levels of this vitamin in your blood.

Signs of Deficiencies

It’s estimated that 42 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. The primary signs that you might be deficient in this vitamin include; unusual sweating, especially a sweaty forehead, sudden and unexpected weakness, depression, random aches, and muscle pains, and fragile bones.  

Note that each of these symptoms could be present in many other health conditions, so work with your doctor to figure out what the cause could be in your case. If you think you might be deficient, get tested to be sure.  

Sources of Vitamin D

It’s easy for you to increase your vitamin D intake and reach your recommended daily limit. After all, the vitamin is found in numerous foods you already eat including fortified dairy products, mushrooms, tuna, salmon, organic eggs, and more. The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.

The Many Ways Vitamin D Benefits Your Health

Vitamin D Benefits in Your Health - A little girl drinking milk flexes for the camera

Stronger Immune System

The immune system protects you from infections and illnesses. Vitamin D can naturally boost its function by providing energy to immune cells, so they work more efficiently. Not surprising immune cells have a particular receptor just for vitamin D absorption.  

Increases Bone Density

Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium. As you age, bones can become thin and break. You can lower your risk of developing disorders such as osteoporosis by getting enough vitamin D and calcium daily.  

Reduces Inflammation

Did you know that the amount of c-reactive protein you have in your body is responsible for inflammation? More importantly, vitamin D can naturally lower the amount of c-reactive proteins by one-third.   

Decreases The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

If you are pre-diabetic, you should increase your vitamin D. It can help your body regulate insulin levels by naturally secreting the chemical. Hyperglycemic people can benefit from the vitamin.   

Stimulates Weight Loss

Although there is no substitute for eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, vitamin D can aid in weight loss. People with a high level of vitamin D are less likely to become obese. Losing weight may even become easier because vitamin D helps to keep fat levels low.   

Lowers The Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Vitamin D will help relieve the inflammatory symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This painful disorder occurs when the immune system attacks the joint linings. As you age, your body breaks down vitamins even faster, so you will have to consume even more vitamin D.  

Relieves Psoriasis

Applying vitamin D or a topical preparation that contains a vitamin D compound called calcipotriene to the skin can treat plaque-type psoriasis in some people.  

Watch Out for Side Effects

Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D is generally considered safe. However, taking too much vitamin D in the form of supplements can be harmful. Taking more than 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D may lead to; nausea, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, weakness, confusion and disorientation, heart rhythm problems, kidney stones, and kidney damage  

Possible interactions include can occur with certain medications, so always consult with your doctor first.