Vitamin D is another one of those essential vitamins that are produced by the human body naturally; as long as you’re receiving enough sunlight daily, the necessary biochemical processes will flood your body with adequate amounts. Alternatively, you can also derive vitamin D from supplements and the appropriate foods.
You might be wondering what Vitamin D does? It does many things, actually – but the most important benefits involve enhanced protection against some ailments, involvement in the growth of study bones and teeth, and it amplifies the bioavailability of phosphorus and calcium in the blood.
As you might have guessed, vitamin D is especially important in the current years of the pandemic. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which vitamin D helps the immune system fight off disease.
Vitamin D And The Immune System
It has been well known for a long time that vitamin D helps the human body fight off a variety of diseases. To be more specific, the research has investigated the following:
- It endows support to the immune system. Multiple studies have shown that subjects with low vitamin D levels are distinctly at risk of a spate of autoimmune diseases, as well as infections. Some of these include inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes.
- Multiple sclerosis has a connection with vitamin D levels. A bona fide medical study performed in 2018 actually involved a review of several pieces of literature based on multiple cirrhosis trials. These trials involved enough subjects to make an adequate population-based assessment: the risk of multiple sclerosis appears to increase if the subject has subpar levels of vitamin D in the system.
- An overall statistical reduction in the occurrence of severe illnesses. Several medical trial reviews strongly suggest that acute respiratory distress syndrome is also linked to subpar levels of vitamin D in the system of subjects. Additionally, both coronavirus and the acute version of the common flu are less likely when there’s adequate vitamin D in the system. More studies need to be done to better certify this particular result.
- Heart disease correlation. The results here are mixed; it has yet to be determined whether or not subpar levels of vitamin D actually contributes to heart disease, or the subjects had generally poor health which usually entails the lack of adequate vitamins D levels. Nonetheless, there does seem to be a connection between serious cardiovascular issues such as heart failure, hypertension and stroke when the patient has low levels of vitamin D in the system.
- Testosterone. Some research has shown supplementing with vitamin D in males that are already deficient may increase testosterone levels.
Vitamin And Weight Loss Benefits
Full disclosure: although there is a relationship between vitamin D and weight loss, it would currently be disingenuous to definitively state that this is causation, instead of correlation. What the research has shown is that subpar levels of vitamin D tend to be associated with people who are overweight as reckoned by the BMI system.
Insofar as studies are concerned, there was one conducted which compared two groups of certifiably obese people: one group of obese people were given a placebo and placed on a diet plan. The other group of obese people were given vitamin D supplements and placed on the same diet plan; it turns out that this latter group experienced greater loss of fat and weight.
When we compare the above with a still-older study involving both vitamin D and calcium supplements, it can be concluded that vitamin D paired with calcium has an appetite-suppressant effect.
Vitamin D Effects on Depression and Overall Mood
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with anxiety, fibromyalgia, and depression. There is a large study done that included more than 7500 neurotic subjects. When they were given vitamin D supplements, it noticeably attenuated their sensitivity to negative emotion. As a result, one of the conclusions from the study was that depressed persons with vitamin D deficiency can benefit from supplementation.
How To Combat Vitamin D Deficiency
How much vitamin D you receive can be dependent on a multitude of factors; in particular, this refers to your body’s ability to produce it from sunlight. Studies show that the following conditions or situations limit your ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight:
- if you use sunscreen, it blocks vitamin D absorption
- high levels of melanin may also limit the amount of vitamin D absorbed by your skin
- too much atmospheric pollution in your region delimits sunshine
- not going outside enough also limits the amount of vitamin D you can absorb
- cities with a multitude of skyscrapers will block a lot of sunlight
These are just some of the reasons why vitamin D supplementation can be such an important course of action for many people.
Side Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some of the effects that have been observed in adults with subpar vitamin D levels include:
- a propensity to suffer stress fractures in the lower body regions; the most common specific areas are the pelvis, legs and hips
- chronic fatigue, attended by aches and pains
- uncommon and acute weakness in your muscles/bones
If you even think that you suffer from any of these, then you should consider scheduling an appointment with your primary physician or a convenient healthcare professional. All it takes is a blood test to gauge whether or not you’re suffering from vitamin D deficiency.
If this is determined in the affirmative, then x-ray may be suggested to search for bone density issues. Usually, the courses of action involve either vitamin D supplementation with on-market pills, or high-dose vitamin D alternatives prescribed by your doctor.
Remember, you can always get vitamin D by going outside more to absorb sunlight, and by eating foods that are rich in it.
Risks Associated With Too Much Vitamin D
As with most things, moderation is key. You want to avoid imbibing too much vitamin D – whether through supplements or liquids. This isn’t all that easy to do, given the body’s natural vitamin D regulation properties. Nonetheless, toxic levels of vitamin D will also flood your blood with too much calcium and result in some of the following:
- excessive thirst
- a sense of confusion
- a general state of apathy
- pain in the abdominal region
Natural Food Sources With Vitamin D
While it’s true that many food sources these days are fortified with vitamin D, there are also many more that contain naturally. Here are just a few in the prodigious zoo of vitamin D applicants.
- canned tuna
- egg yolk
- car liver oil
- beef liver
- red herring
- ocean shrimp
Since studies show that even when combined together, adequate sunlight and food that naturally contains vitamin D do not often supply enough. As a result, we will also include foods that have been fortified with vitamin D artificially. When you combine these with supplementation, you will be just fine when it comes to the recommended daily value of vitamin D in your system.
- fortified milk
- fortified orange juice
- fortified yogurts – whether Greek or sweetened
- fortified oatmeal
- fortified cereals of a multitude of varieties
In sum, then, vitamin D confers a host of benefits on the human body. Numerous medical trials have shown that it has the potential to reduce disease and bolster immune system function, as well as help manage depression and possibly weight. Will conclude this article with the recommended daily allowances by the FDA:
- pregnant or breastfeeding women to get 15 µg of vitamin D per day
- infants should get 10 µg of vitamin D daily
- elderly adults over 70 should get 20 µg of vitamin D daily
- children and teenagers should get 15 µg of vitamin D daily
- adults between the ages of 18 and 70 should get 15 µg daily