Vitamin D: Health benefits and facts
Vitamin D is considered a pro-hormone and not actually a vitamin since unlike other vitamins that cannot be created by the body and therefore must be taken in through our diet, vitamin D can be synthesized by our body when sunlight hits our skin.
It is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes a couple of times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D.
However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, and stores can run low, especially in winter.
Recent studies have suggested that a substantial percentage of the global population is vitamin D deficient, and having enough vitamin D is important for a number of reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
It can also protect against a range of conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is so important that its deficiency can cause low estrogen in women, which denotes low sex drive. It also causes low testosterone in men.
Increased vitamin D causes your hormones, and your libido, to peak, and studies have shown that men with adequate vitamin, have significantly more testosterone than men whose vitamin D levels are low.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include:
- Getting sick or getting infected more often.
- Bones and back that hurt.
- Depressed mood
- Slow wound healing.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle pain.
A long period of Vitamin D deficiency can result in:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease
Vitamin D deficiency may also lead to the development of certain cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
Health benefits of vitamin D
1. Stronger, healthier teeth
Individuals who lacked sufficient vitamin D had undesirable gaps in their dentin (the layer beneath the tooth’s enamel). Since dentin makes up 85% of a tooth’s structure, irregularities can prove to be quite serious and embarrassing.
2. Mental sharpness
Researchers performed blood tests on more than 3,000 European men and discovered that participants with higher levels of vitamin D displayed superior memory function and information processing capabilities than those with lower levels of the vitamin.
3. Better overall health
A study found participants with smaller amounts of vitamin D in their bloodstream were over 30% more likely to have had a recent infection than those whose blood tests indicated higher levels of vitamin D. And a meta-analysis discovered vitamin D supplements seems to reduce the risk of infection by 10%.
4. Leaner abs and abdomen
A 16-week study indicated participants who consumed orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D had a significant reduction in abdominal fat over those who consumed the same orange juice without the vitamin D fortification.
5. Healthier heart
People with the lowest levels of vitamin D had an 81% increased potential to die from heart disease, 64% greater risk of heart attacks, and 57% higher chance of early death than those with the highest vitamin D levels, according to a Copenhagen University Hospital study.
6. Thicker head of hair
Researchers recently revealed that vitamin D has the ability to revive receptors in hair follicles that seemingly die, thus helping to prevent male pattern baldness.
7. Smaller risk of cancer
Considering the fact that vitamin D deficiency is considered common amongst cancer patients, don’t knowingly allow yourself to become vitamin D deficient.
8. Reduced risk of diabetes
Several observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D in the body and the risk of the emergence of type 2 diabetes.
In people with type 2 diabetes, insufficient vitamin D levels may negatively affect insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.
9. Healthy infants
A study also found out that children with normal blood pressure who were given 2,000 International Units (IU) per day had significantly lower arterial wall stiffness after 16 weeks compared with children who were given only 400 IU per day.
Low vitamin D status has also been linked with a higher risk and severity of atopic childhood diseases and allergic diseases, including asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema.
Vitamin D may improve the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids, making it potentially useful as supportive therapy for people with steroid-resistant asthma.
Vitamin D and testosterone concentrations
Testosterone and estrogen levels don’t just affect sex drive, they also have huge impacts on your mood, since low testosterone can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Similarly, estrogen helps boost serotonin and GABA, critical neurotransmitters, which help keep you calm.
Vitamin D also has other, more direct, effects on your mood, as it activates the genes that release dopamine and serotonin, the lack of these neurotransmitters, commonly leads to depression.
Do not feel like you have to be a nudist to get adequate vitamin D, since you can take a vitamin D supplement. About 1,000 IU daily for every 25 pounds of total body weight.