Vitamins have great health benefits for our skin, body and energy levels. We will be better off knowing a little more about them. Let’s take a look at Vitamin D Benefits and how we can incorporate it into our daily routine.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble steroids which aid in the absorption of calcium and phosphate by the intestine.
The sunshine vitamin or vitamin D is a fat-soluble or one can say lipid soluble steroid. Vitamin D helps in regulating the amount of phosphate and calcium in our body and helps bones, teeth, and muscle to stay healthy.
Though it is named as vitamin it is considered as prohormone as our body is capable of generating vitamin D by itself and vitamins are that nutrients which are not possible to synthesize by the body and must be provided through supplements or diets.
There are 5 forms of Vitamin D and collectively they are known as calciferol.
- Vitamin D1 is a molecular compound of ergocalciferol with lumisterol.
- Vitamin D2 is made of ergosterol. It is produced in invertebrates, fungus, and plants in response to sunlight. Humans and other vertebrates do not produce Vitamin D2.
- Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7 dehyrocholestrol reacts with ultraviolet light. A human requires 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure at least twice a week on the face, arms and back without sunscreen with a greater than 3 UV index for adequate amounts of Vitamin D3 synthesis.
- Vitamin D4 is dihydroegocalciferol.
- Vitamin D5 is made up of 7 dehydositosterol.
- Out of all these Vitamin D2 and D3 are most important.
Before going into Vitamin D benefits, look into its best sources and deficiency symptoms.
Good Sources of Vitamin D and Calcium
One of the free means and maybe easiest ways to be on your way to your daily dose of Vitamin D is to just get out in the sun and have a quick sunbathe.
When your skin is exposed to UVB radiation from sunlight, vitamin D is formed before being shuttled into the bloodstream. From there, it is quickly moved to the liver and converted to vitamin D.
Natural Food in Your Diet
- Milk and Milk Products
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef Liver
- Egg yolks
- To get vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. T
Vitamin D Supplementation becomes extremely important during the winter months when you have limited or no exposure to sunlight. Try to take in at least 600 IU per day to get your daily allowance, but since this may be an underestimation, don’t be afraid to go a little bit higher.
How is Vitamin D Produced in Our Body?
Normally a bare skin exposed to the sunlight for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per week gives the body enough ability to produce vitamin D in sufficient quantity.
But as vitamin D has only 2 weeks of half-life, the body will soon run out of vitamin D like in the winter season.
Recently studies on vitamin D deficiency have shown that about 50% of adults as well as the child, worldwide, face vitamin D deficiency.
Generally, people who live in high altitude have minimum sun exposure which is why they need to have foods which are the sources of vitamin D or they need to take supplements.
A person with fair skin if exposed full body to the sun can produce up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 within 20 minutes. It is produced when the cholesterol on our skin is converted into vitamin D3 or calciol.
Then in the liver calciol is converted into calcidiol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. After that calcidiol is converted into vitamin D or calcitriol in the kidney.
Usage of Vitamin D in Children & Adults
- Vitamin D helps in maintaining the health of our bones and teeth.
- It also keeps the immune system, nervous system, and brain in a good health.
- Vitamin D also helps in regulating insulin levels and protects us from type 1 diabetes.
- It supports the cardiovascular system and helps in the proper functioning of the lungs.
- Vitamin D influences the expression of cancer development genes.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
You can easily make out if you continuously face, bone pain, muscle pain or teeth ache, but if you are not sure about it then you can test your blood. Some of the symptoms that will help you to diagnose or to decide whether you need a blood test or not are-
- Often the peoples who have minimum sun exposure face pigmentation in their skin. Inadequate amount of vitamin D will make the skin darker. So this is a sign which will inform you that if your skin is in need of sunlight or not.
- Often wondered why you feel sad when it is cloudy and feel lifted when it is sunny? It is because of the serotonin or the brain hormone which fluctuates in the different situations. The level of the hormone rises in the exposure of bright light and lowers in minimum sun exposure. So if you feel low all the time, then my friend you need to face the sun.
- Pain in the bones is another indication of vitamin D deficiency.
How Vitamin D Helps you to get Better Health Conditions?
As other vitamins and minerals are needed for your body, vitamin D also has some potential health benefits that make it essential for our body. Advantages of Vitamin D in our lives.
Get Stronger Bones with Vitamin D
One of the most important roles that Vitamin D plays in the regulation of phosphorus and calcium levels in our body which are also responsible for maintaining a good health of our bone.
Certainly, if our body faces deficiency in vitamin D then it will highly affect our bones. Vitamin D also helps in absorbing the calcium in our intestines and to regain the calcium from the kidney. This ensures strong bones and a healthy immune system.
Any children face a severe deficiency of vitamin D can be affected by rickets which results in bow shaped legs which are very fragile in nature. In the adults, osteomalacia or osteoporosis is the common disorder because of Vitamin D deficiency. In both cases, the bones become weak and fracture-prone.
Prevention of Cancer
Vitamin D also supports cell growth and the communication from one cell to other. Now many studies have proven that the calcitriol which is the very active hormonal form of vitamin D has the ability to reduce cancer progression.
Calcitriol increases the death of cancerous tissues by lowering the speed of the growth and development of new blood vessels in the carcinogenic tissues hence, the cell proliferation and metastases process also get reduced.
Vitamin D is one of the most potent inhibitors of cancer-cell growth and reduces the risk of cancer by increasing calcium absorption and cell differentiation while reducing metastasis (the spread of cancer from one organ to another)
Improved Muscle Function with Vit D
Short-changing yourself when it comes to vitamin D supplementation could be interfering with your strength gains. Research published in the Iranian Journal of Public Health in 2010 reported that over 70 percent of men ages 20-29 had some level of vitamin D deficiency.
Protection from Flu
It is an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like cold and flu. If children are given a dosage of 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day for 4 consecutive months during the winter season, it reduces the risk of having infection related to influenza A by over 40%.
Protection from Diabetes (Type 2)
Many studies have conducted to see the relation between diabetes and vitamin D. In most cases it has been found that vitamin D has an inverse relation with diabetes, which means the deficiency of vitamin D maximizes the risk of having diabetes.
Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D may play a significant role in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes—especially in those who are at an increased risk for this deadly disease.
A lower amount of vitamin D also affects insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.
In a study where the infants are given 2,000 IU/day, has shown that they have 88% of the lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes when they will be at the age of 32.
Healthy Children ~ with Usage of Vit D
A study proved that children with normal blood pressure who took the dose of 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D had lower arterial wall stiffness than the children who took only 400 IU/day, after 16 weeks.
Atopic diseases and allergic diseases like asthma, atopic dermatitis and eczema are more likely to affect the children who have vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Benefits for Skin
Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are most beneficial for skin. Vit D also rejuvenate the skin and prevents infections that might be caused due to skin injuries and repairs the skin damage.
Vitamin D is highly effective and is used in skin treatment of psoriasis. Psoriasis symptoms include itchy and flaky skin, which can heal by the topical application of Vitamin D cream or by having prescribed Vitamin D supplements.
The anti-oxidant present in Vitamin D prevents premature aging and skin damage when taken via supplements or included in the diet. Adequate skin exposure can also provide relief from these symptoms.
Vitamin D3 contains strong anti-inflammatory properties which make it effective for treating burns, skin injuries, skin damage and stretch marks. Thus vitamin D is mostly added to creams and lotions for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Vit D Great Benefits for Hair
Lack of Vitamin D can also cause hair loss. Vitamin D is found in healthy hair follicles and is generally lacking in unhealthy follicles.
One of the best ways to gain thick and strong hair growth is to include vitamin D rich source foods in your daily diet.
While Vitamin D deficiency leads to hair loss, the opposite might not be true. Overconsumption of Vitamin D will not lead to hair growth in itself.
Proper vitamin D is needed for a woman who is pregnant with both low and high amount of vitamin D will create health complexities for both of the mother and child.
Deficient in Vitamin D, pregnant women are likely to have a great risk of developing preeclampsia and therefore need to have a cesarean delivery. The gestational diabetes mellitus and the bacterial vaginosis are also the reason of lower level of vitamin D in pregnant women.
Other Advantages of Having Adequate Vitamin D
Protect you from several Cardiovascular Diseases like Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Hypertension,
Reduces Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Swine Flu, Alzheimer’s disease etc according to some studies.
Intake of Vit D aids in insulin secretion and helps to fight depression and enhances your mood.