Health and Nutrition Articles

Vitamin D

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The Sunshine Vitamin

Also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, vitamin-D is produced in the body in response to exposure from sunlight.

This fat-soluble vitamin also occurs naturally in very few foods-including some fish and fish oils, and also added to many dairy and grain products.

Vitamin-D is also used as a dietary supplement, traditionally available as vitamin-D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin-D3 (cholecalciferol), which are essential for the human body.

The major function of vitamin-D is to maintain normal blood levels of phosphorus and calcium.

By increasing the absorption of calcium from food and reducing urinary calcium loss, vitamin D keeps calcium in the blood stream and the body longer, which helps store calcium in the bodys bones and regulates the immune system.

Vitamin-D's effect on the blood stream, along with the its ability to cooperate with other vitamins, make it an essential nutrient for optimal bone health, immune health, and more .

Vitamin D Benefits

Along with bone and immune health, vitamin-D also has many other beneficial roles on our bodies. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D, which help each of those tissues function properly.

Many health articles and health professionals point out that vitamin-D can:

  • Help lower blood pressure
  • Help protect against immune system disorders like the common cold
  • Help support longer and optimal brain health
  • Help reduce and fight mental health and psychological problems
  • Help maintain a healthy body weight
  • Help reduce the severity and frequency of asthma
  • Help reduce respiratory infections
  • Help protect against damage from low levels of radiation
  • Help increase the recovery period of many medical procedures & cancer treatments
  • Help reduce and fight depression, stress, and tension
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Protect against some forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, and colon cancer
  • Lower the risk of developing autism in children
  • Lower the risk of getting multiple sclerosis
  • Lower the chance of rheumatoid arthritis in women
  • Lower the risk of developing diabetes
  • Lower the chance of developing Rickets, Osteoporosis and other bone diseases
  • Lower the chance of heart, liver, kidney disease, and many other diseases.

To learn more about the benefits of vitamin-D, check out our blog.

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Despite all of the health benefits, many people still struggle to maintain proper vitamin-D levels.

Because of lifestyles, eating habits, medical conditions, etc., many people are vitamin-D deficient, and most don't even know it.

According to the Vitamin D Council, over 90% of the population is deficient in vitamin D. Other statistics suggest that over 1 billion people have insufficient vitamin-D levels.

D Vitamin D deficiency may occur for variety reasons:

Your Daily Diet- Because most of the natural sources of vitamin-D are animal based (including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver) most people, especially strict vegetarians do not get the proper levels of vitamin-D from their daily diet.

Your Exposure to Sunlight- Vitamin-D is produced in the body in response to exposure from sunlight. If you limit your exposure of sunlight (for whatever reason) you may be at risk for vitamin-D deficiency.

Low exposure to sunlight tends to occur during the winter time and to those people who live in northern latitudes.

People living in an area with a lot of atmospheric pollution, which can block the sun's ultra-violet rays, can also prevent the proper exposure of sunlight.

You Have Dark-Skin- The melanin in the skin of darker skinned people reduces UV penetration and the skins ability to make vitamin-D.

Studies have shown that elderly people with dark-skin are at greater risk of vitamin-D deficiency.

Medical Conditions- As we age, our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin-D to its active form, which increases the risk of vitamin-D deficiency.

Other medical conditions including cystic fibrosis, Chron's Disease, allergies, liver & kidney disease, renal disease, and more, may also increase your risk of vitamin-D deficiency.

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References

Quick Facts

  • The major function of vitamin-D is to maintain normal blood levels of phosphorus and calcium
  • According to the Vitamin D Council, over 90% of the population is deficient in vitamin D
  • This fat-soluble vitamin also occurs naturally in very few foods
  • Vitamin-D is produced in the body in response to exposure from sunlight
  • It lowers your risk of developing rickets, Osteoporosis and other bone diseases
  • The melanin in the skin of darker skinned people reduces UV penetration and the skins ability to make vitamin-D
  • As we age, our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin-D to its active form, which increases the risk of vitamin-D deficiency
  • Strict vegetarians do not get the proper levels of vitamin-D from their daily diet
  • Vitamin D keeps calcium in the blood stream and the body longer