Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes from frequent sun exposure. This “sunshine vitamin” affects not only your bones and skeleton, but also your immune system, blood pressure, mood, and how your brain works. Vitamin D can help protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and infections and viruses, among other things. About 40% to 80% of Americans don’t get enough vitamin D.
How does vitamin D work?
Vitamin D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is only found in small amounts in some foods. It is also made by our bodies, but only when the sun hits our skin. Vitamin D is called a “essential” nutrient because the body can’t make it on its own. It needs food and sunlight to do so.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
1. Helps keep bones healthy
Vitamin D is important for getting calcium into the bones. It also affects magnesium, vitamin K, and phosphorus, which are all important vitamins and minerals that help both people stay healthy. Phosphorus, along with calcium and other compounds, is needed to build up bone density in the right way.
2. Helps the body’s immune system
People call vitamin D a “immune modulator.” Our immune cells have receptors for vitamin D, and it has been shown that vitamin D improves the overall function of the immune system in a number of ways, including by preventing inflammation responses that last too long or are too strong.
This vitamin helps cells copy themselves in a healthy way and may help prevent autoimmune diseases, infections, viruses, and less serious illnesses like colds and the flu. Also, this vitamin is thought to help keep the gut lining intact, protect the mucosal barrier, and keep the gut immune system in check.
Vitamin D may be helpful for people with autoimmune disorders and other conditions because it can help control inflammatory responses and keep B-lymphocytes in balance. Risks of disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive problems are also reduced by appropriate levels of Vitamin D.
3. Helps control blood sugar and can stop diabetes
When insulin resistance gets worse, there is either not enough insulin or not enough insulin is being made. Type 2 diabetes can also be caused by inflammation, toxins, insulin resistance, or being overweight.
D3 is needed to help the -cells in the pancreas make insulin. Calcium is also needed for insulin to be released, and the benefits of vitamin D help the body absorb and use calcium, which helps control insulin release.
4. Could help prevent cancer
Vitamin D is involved in elements that affect how tumors grow, how cells change, and when they die. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to higher risks of cancer, especially breast, ovarian, colon, colorectal, bladder, and prostate cancers.
5. Fights against heart disease
Vitamin D is good for heart health because it helps keep blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation levels normal. People with severe deficiencies are also more likely to get heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.
6. Helps control hormones and mood
A lack of Vitamin D has been linked to a higher risk of mood disorders because it acts like a hormone in our bodies and affects how our brains work. People who are deficient seem to be more likely to have depression, seasonal affective disorder, severe mood changes during PMS, insomnia, and anxiety.
It can increase the activity of endocrine glands, support the production of neurotransmitters, help keep the nervous system in balance, and fight inflammation in the brain.
Low levels of D3 can stop the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis from working. This can stop the production of testosterone and estrogen, which can cause hormonal imbalances that can cause a lot of unwanted symptoms.
7. Helps focus, learning, and memory
Several studies have shown that oxidative stress is one way in which vitamin D affects cognitive function. It might make it harder for us to make decisions, remember things, and pay attention.
People with lower levels may be more likely to have cognitive decline, resulting in lower performance on standardized tests, poor decision making ability, and issues with focus and attention deficiency.
8. Helps keep the skin healthy
Vitamin D reduces inflammation helps skin cells grow, repair, and get rid of waste.
If you get enough, it may even stop your skin from getting older and reduce the redness, dryness, and other symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. Normal levels of vitamin D may help prevent skin problems such as lupus, ichthyosis, atopic dermatitis, some types of acne, baldness, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
9. May help older people keep moving.
When older people have enough vitamin D in their bodies, they are more likely to be active, have stronger muscles, and are less likely to fall and get hurt. Plus, higher levels may help older people keep their brains working normally as they age.
10. Helps the thyroid work.
When there isn’t enough vitamin D in the body, the thyroid gland seems more likely to stop working. So, vitamin D may help keep the thyroid, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands working normally. It may also help prevent hyperparathyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Vitamin D Deficieny Symptoms Include:
- Osteoporosis and broken bones
- Frequent Illness
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Some types of cancers
- Autoimmune diseases