Vitamin D is one of the thirteen essential vitamins. This means that on its own, the body cannot make it if you sit inside all day. To avoid a deficiency, you are going to need to get it from other sources like food or direct sunlight. Unfortunately, there are many people in the world who are not getting enough, and do not receive the benefits of vitamin D. So, where can you get vitamin D from and what are the benefits that it provides? Continue reading to learn more about the health benefits of vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
As previously mentioned, vitamin D is one of the thirteen essential vitamins. However, unlike all of the other vitamins, vitamin D works more like a hormone. This is because every cell in your body has a receptor for it. These receptors bind to vitamin D and vitamin D regulates certain genes that regulate cell growth and development. Additionally, vitamin D is used in the body to help absorb calcium.
How Much Do You Need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) " The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age." Here are the recommended daily amounts for vitamin D in International Units (IU)
|Age||Recommended Daily Amount|
|Birth - 12 Months||400 IU|
|1 -13 Years||600 IU|
|14 - 18 Years||600 IU|
|19 -70 Years||600 IU|
|71 Years & Older||800 IU|
|Pregnant Women||600 IU|
|Breastfeeding Women||600 IU|
Where Is it Found?
To get enough of this vitamin, you need to get it through your diet or through supplementation. Some dietary sources of vitamin D are:
- Fatty Fish: Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are some of the best sources.
- Mushrooms: These provide a little bit of vitamin D, but their content is being boosted by exposing them to UV light in the stores
- Fortified Milk: Most of the US milk has vitamin D added to it.
- Fortified Cereal: As with milk, many kinds of cereal are fortified with vitamin D. Check the label to see if your favorite brand is fortified.
If you are a picky eater or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can still get vitamin D. In fact, the human body can make vitamin D when the skin comes in direct contact with the sun. However, clothing and sunscreen can inhibit this process.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Many studies have shown that vitamin D may possess some ability to fight disease. One review study published back in 2008 looked into the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease. The study came to the conclusion that "The potential for vitamin D to have a role in the prevention and/or treatment of cardiovascular disease has some biologic plausibility." What this means is that with further research, it may be proven that vitamin D can fight cardiovascular disease.
Another study published in 2010 gave schoolchildren either a supplement of vitamin D3 or a placebo. Out of the 167 children on the supplement, only 18 of them (10.8%) got the flu virus. In the group on the placebo, 31 out of the 167 children (18.6%) got the flu virus. The researchers came to the conclusion that "Vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A."
If you are trying to lose weight, you can consider upping your vitamin intake by starting yourself on a vitamin D supplement. This is because they may be able to help you with your weight loss. One study published in 2009 showed that people who took a calcium and vitamin D supplement could lose more weight than those who were on a placebo. The researchers also included that the extra amounts of these nutrients had the ability to reduce appetite. This could come in handy for those who are taking on weight loss for their New Year's resolution. Check out one of our previous articles to learn about Making and Keeping your New Year's Resolutions.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
These health benefits of vitamin D are only available to those who meet the daily recommended amount. However, there are some people who have a greater risk of developing a deficiency in this vitamin. Some common risk factors are:
- Dark skin
- Little sunlight exposure due to location
- Consistently wearing sunscreen
- Staying indoors
There are also some side effects of vitamin D deficiency to cover too. One sign you may be deficient in this vitamin is if you get sick too often. Others include fatigue and even pain in muscles, bones, and back. MedlinePlus, a division of the National Institutes of Health states "Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures."
There are many health benefits of vitamin D. However, these benefits are only available to those who get adequate amounts of it. If you are a picky eater, vegetarian or vegan, or do not get the sunlight to produce enough vitamin D, then you should talk to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement. Here at Liquid Health, we manufacture our vitamin D3 supplement. This supplement is also vegan-friendly.
For more information about any of our supplements, please visit our website or call us today at 800-995-6607