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Why is Vitamin D So Important to Your Body?

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Why is Vitamin D So Important to Your Body?
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When it comes to keeping your body healthy, you know that vitamins are important. But did you know that out of all the vitamins, vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins for your health?

Vitamin D is responsible for many crucial functions in your body; without it, you could be at risk for several health problems. This nutrient is crucial for maintaining strong bones, improving your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss.

This blog post will explore the importance of vitamin D and discuss how it helps keep your body healthy. So read on to learn more about this essential nutrient!

How is Vitamin D Different From Other Nutrients?

The unique aspect of vitamin D is that other than getting it from dietary sources, it can be synthesized by the human body through the action of sunlight.

When exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet light goes through the epidermis and turns provitamin D3 into previtamin D3. Previtamin D3 can change into vitamin D3 by isomerization or be broken down by light into lumisterol and tachysterol.

According to a study, These dual sources of vitamin D make it challenging to develop dietary reference intake values. Everyone synthesizes different amounts of vitamin D, depending on their skin type and color.

The melanin in your skin absorbs the UV Rays that start the process of making vitamin D. This means that individuals with darker skin make less vitamin D than lighter skin individuals.

These properties make it look like we don’t need vitamin D supplements because we can get them from the sun, but you will be surprised to hear that vitamin D deficiency is a common problem worldwide.

About 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, and half of the population doesn't get enough vitamin D. Approximately 35% of adults in the United States have vitamin D deficiency.

What Research Says About Vitamin D and Health

Many pieces of research agree with the benefits of Vitamin D and correlate it to mental and physical health. Following are some of the benefits of Vitamin D

Boosts Your Energy Levels

Vitamin D is important for your body for many reasons, including keeping your energy levels up. Vitamin D affects how your cells produce energy, and a lack of Vitamin D can lead to fatigue and low energy levels. Making sure you get enough Vitamin D can help keep you energized throughout the day.

Research has shown that people with low levels of Vitamin D are more likely to experience depression than those with normal levels.

Vitamin D is believed to stimulate the nerve receptors that produce serotonin, improving mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and social behavior.

Helps Strengthen Your Bones

You probably already know that calcium benefits your bones and can help prevent osteoporosis if you consume enough of it. The nutrient is important for keeping your bones strong.

However, calcium's bone-building effects are limited if your body doesn't have enough vitamin D. Calcium aids in the formation and maintenance of bones. In contrast, vitamin D enables your body to absorb calcium more efficiently.

Together, these two nutrients contribute to bone health and growth. Therefore, even if you consume an adequate amount of calcium, it may be pointless if you do not have sufficient vitamin D levels.

Moreover, Vitamin D helps keep your hair healthy and prevent hair loss. It is one of the key ingredients in many hair-strengthening supplements.

Offers Immune Support

In addition to the primary advantages it offers, recent studies, as discussed below, have shown that vitamin D may also play a part in the following:

Lowering the Probability of Developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - According to the review of population-based studies published in 2018, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Decrease the Likelihood of Developing Heart Disease - Low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke are correlated. It is unknown, however, whether a deficiency in vitamin D actually causes heart disease or simply indicates poor health in individuals who already have a chronic condition.

Minimizing the Probability of Developing Serious Illnesses - Vitamin D may reduce the risk of severe flu and COVID-19 infections, although the studies on this topic have produced conflicting results. According to the findings of a recent study, having insufficient levels of vitamin D can contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Promotes a Healthy Immune System - Inadequate vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Provides Relief From Fatigue

Low vitamin D can cause bone problems like osteomalacia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis. It can also weaken muscles, making you feel tired, sluggish, and sleepy.

It has been proven that Low vitamin D is common in tired people with stable long-term health problems. Taking vitamin D supplements helps their fatigue symptoms to get a lot better. Hence keeping your Vitamin D levels in check will make you feel more energetic.

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

If an adult doesn't get enough vitamin D, they may experience:

  • Feeling tired, achy, and in pain
  • A lot of pain or weakness in the bones or muscles
  • Stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, or hips.
  • Some people may also feel symptoms of depression.

A simple blood test can tell a doctor or nurse if someone doesn't have enough vitamin D. Your doctor may give you X-rays to check the strength of your bones if you have a deficiency.

A doctor or nurse will probably tell you to take vitamin D supplements if you don't have enough vitamin D. If you have a severe lack of vitamin D, they may give you high-dose tablets or liquids instead. However, you must ensure that you get enough vitamin D from your diet and exposure to the sun.

Risks of Getting Too Much Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for good health. It helps the body absorb calcium, build strong bones, and keep the immune system functioning properly. However, too much vitamin D can cause serious health problems.

Signs of vitamin D toxicity include nausea, vomiting, increased thirst, weight loss, confusion, and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. While getting some sun is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D, it is important to limit your exposure to avoid the risks of overdosing on this important vitamin.

The amount of vitamin D you need depends on your age. The NIH recommends that people aged 1-70 years get 600 IU of vitamin D per day, and those over 70 years should get 800 IU per day. Some people may need more vitamin D depending on their diet and exposure to sunlight.

You can get vitamin D from food, supplements, and sunlight. Food sources of vitamin D include:

  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish such as
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Canned tuna
  • Fortified milk
  • Cereals
  • Multivitamins
  • Beef liver
  • Shrimp
  • Yogurt
  • Orange juice

Supplements can also provide you with the vitamin D you need.

FAQs

1. What are the risks of not having enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D has been linked to some long-term health problems. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children and bone pain and weakness in adults.

Vitamin D has also been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

2. Does Sunscreen Use Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency?

Sunscreens with a high sun protection factor (SPF) block most of the sun's ultraviolet B radiation. This is because UVB damage is the primary reason for sunburn and can lead to skin cancer.

It just so happens that the wavelengths of ultraviolet light known as UVB are the ones that cause the skin to produce vitamin D. Despite this, there is no evidence from scientific research to suggest that using sunscreen daily can cause vitamin D deficiency.

Most studies have demonstrated that individuals who regularly apply sunscreen can stabilize their vitamin D levels. No matter how much sunscreen you put on or how high the SPF number is, some of the sun's ultraviolet rays will still penetrate your skin.

This could be one of the reasons why. Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 blocks 97 percent, and sunscreen with an SPF of 50 blocks 98 percent.

Even when you use sunscreen with a high SPF, this still allows anywhere from 2 to 7 percent of the sun's UVB rays to penetrate your skin. And that's assuming you use them correctly the entire time.

3. Does the sun have to touch your skin directly to get vitamin D?

Because glass blocks UVB rays, the human body cannot produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun's rays through a window. For your body to effectively produce vitamin D, your skin must be directly exposed to sunlight.

Take Away

There are many possible advantages associated with vitamin D. It may lower one's risk of developing certain diseases, assist in managing one's weight, improve one's mood and lessen the severity of depressive symptoms. It is difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone; therefore, you may want to consult a medical professional about getting a blood test and consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Khazai, Natasha, et al. “Calcium and Vitamin D: Skeletal and Extraskeletal Health.” Current Rheumatology Reports, vol. 10, no. 2, Apr. 2008, pp. 110–17. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669834/.
  • Pratiwi, Sari Eka, and Fitri Sukmawati. “VITAMIN D AND SEROTONIN’S ROLE IN NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS.” Raheema, vol. 7, no. 1, July 2020, pp. 114–28. jurnaliainpontianak.or.id, https://doi.org/10.24260/raheema.v7i1.1797.
  • Saini, Kriteeka, and Venkataram Mysore. “Role of Vitamin D in Hair Loss: A Short Review.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, vol. 20, no. 11, Nov. 2021, pp. 3407–14. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.14421.
  • Calcium, I. of M. (US) C. to R. D. R. I. for V. D. and, Ross, A. C., Taylor, C. L., Yaktine, A. L., & Valle, H. B. D. (2011). Overview of vitamin d. National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56061/
  • Wong, S. K., Chin, K.-Y., & Ima-Nirwana, S. (2018). Vitamin d and depression: The evidence from an indirect clue to treatment strategy. Current Drug Targets, 19(8), 888–897. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389450118666170913161030
  • Judd, S. E., & Tangpricha, V. (2009). Vitamin D deficiency and risk for cardiovascular disease. The American journal of the medical sciences, 338(1), 40–44. https://doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3181aaee91
  • Sintzel, M. B., Rametta, M., & Reder, A. T. (2018). Vitamin d and multiple sclerosis: A comprehensive review. Neurology and Therapy, 7(1), 59–85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40120-017-0086-4
  • Roy, S., Sherman, A., Monari-Sparks, M. J., Schweiker, O., & Hunter, K. (2014). Correction of low vitamin d improves fatigue: Effect of correction of low vitamin d in fatigue study(Evidif study). North American Journal of Medical Sciences, 6(8), 396–402. https://doi.org/10.4103/1947-2714.139291
  • Yang, Chen-Yen, et al. “The Implication of Vitamin D and Autoimmunity: A Comprehensive Review.” Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, vol. 45, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 217–26. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-013-8361-3.
  • Roy, Satyajeet, et al. “Correction of Low Vitamin D Improves Fatigue: Effect of Correction of Low Vitamin D in Fatigue Study (EViDiF Study).” North American Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 6, no. 8, Aug. 2014, pp. 396–402. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.4103/1947-2714.139291.
  • Grant, William B., et al. “Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths.” Nutrients, vol. 12, no. 4, Apr. 2020, p. E988. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040988.
  • Dancer, R. C., Parekh, D., Lax, S., D'Souza, V., Zheng, S., Bassford, C. R., Park, D., Bartis, D. G., Mahida, R., Turner, A. M., Sapey, E., Wei, W., Naidu, B., Stewart, P. M., Fraser, W. D., Christopher, K. B., Cooper, M. S., Gao, F., Sansom, D. M., Martineau, A. R., … Thickett, D. R. (2015). Vitamin D deficiency contributes directly to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Thorax, 70(7), 617–624. https://doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2014-206680

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