Imagine a world where one vitamin could help build stronger bones and prevent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease and depression. A seemingly too-good-to-be-true, once-a-day vitamin that even went so far as to help in weight loss.
Lucky for us, we live in this world! Thanks to its helpful properties, a healthy dose of vitamin D each day is showing the possibility of being extremely beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. Typically, vitamin D comes from our skin’s reaction to sunlight, though it is also found in some of the foods you eat and supplements that can be found in your local pharmacy.
Whether you’re a cooing baby, a story-telling grandpa or anywhere in between, vitamin D is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones. Your body needs the assistance of vitamin D in order to absorb calcium from the foods you eat. For older folks, vitamin D paired with calcium helps to prevent fractures, brittle bones and many other problems you may face as you age, while children benefit by getting help building strong bones and preventing disorders such as rickets.
Vitamin D has also been suspected in the prevention of Multiple sclerosis (MS). This is because researchers noticed not only that the autoimmune disorder is more prominent farther away from the equator where the sun is weaker, but also that a rare gene defect that leads to low levels of vitamin D also leads to a higher risk of MS. While there still needs to be more evidence before the link can be confirmed, researchers are on the hunt for more connections.
Studies have also shown that people who are obese also often have a low level of vitamin D. In fact, body fat acts as a trap for vitamin D, cutting off the supply from the rest of the body and effectively lowering the amount in your system. While more research is being conducted, some suggest that adding vitamin D into your diet may help in the weight loss process.
A link has also been noticed, though not confirmed due to not enough evidence, between low levels of vitamin D and type 2 diabetes and colon, breast, prostate and other types of cancers. As is always the case in the ever-expanding library of knowledge that is the medical field, more studies are being conducted to see whether these benefits are true or simply coincidence.
For those at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks, researchers are looking into the possibility of the vitamin lowering your chances of these conditions occurring. Those who suffer from heart disease tend to have a lower level of vitamin D.
One important function if vitamin D is the development of your brain and it’s important processes. Researchers have suggested that because of this, large doses of vitamin D could possibly lessen the symptoms of mild depression. As with many other benefits, this is still being looked into.
So how can you add more vitamin D to your life? Many foods do not have a supply of this vitamin, however you can find it in some fish (mackerel, swordfish and salmon have plenty, tuna and sardines have less), egg yolk and milk. Look in your grocery store for foods that have been fortified with extra D! You can also find vitamin D in supplement form, whether on its own or in a multivitamin.
As always, check with your trusted health care provider before starting any regiment. Too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing, and that holds true for the vitamins you take. While researchers are showing support for the vitamin, more studies are being conducted all the time, so look out for news on this vitamin as its benefits and drawbacks are discovered!