When we think about Vitamin D we picture ourselves soaking up in the Sun. The sunshine vitamin as it is rightly called can be synthesized in our body by exposure to sunlight. This unique vitamin is referred to as a pro-hormone by the leading experts. Vitamin D works like a hormone in some cases. Read on to know about the magical benefits of vitamin D in Depression, Weight loss, Marathon and Heart disorders.
Vitamin D comes under the category of fat-soluble vitamin as it does not get dissolved in water. It has a distinctive structure and hence it has receptors in every part of our body. Read on to take a look at the numerous benefits of vitamin D and its sources.
How can we obtain Vitamin D?
The ultraviolet light of midday sun helps in synthesizing vitamin D naturally. The best way to get sufficient Vitamin D is to sit in the sun for a period of ten to fifteen minutes. In addition to the safe exposure to sunlight, we can also obtain it from certain supplements and foods.
The recommended allowance for Vitamin D is 600 to 800 IU/day.
Food sources of Vitamin D –
- Some kind of cheese
- Fortified foods like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereal
- Milk and milk products for which the recommended allowance is 115-124 IU per serving.
- Egg yolk remains the best source. The recommended dietary allowance for an egg is 41 IU/ serving.
- Some appreciable quantity of this vitamin D is found in mushrooms and beef liver.
- Fish and fish oil such as cod, shark, salmon, halibut, and saw-fish for which the recommended allowance is 500 to 1000IU/serving.
- Vanaspati is fortified with vitamin D but the overall consumption of it is not quite high in India.
Supplementation of Vitamin D –
Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms namely vitamin D2 and D3 that can be taken in tablet, powder or capsule form.
There are numerous studies that indicate that vitamin D3 supplementation is more effective than vitamin D2 supplementation.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Recent studies indicate that Vitamin D has benefits beyond its main function of improving bone health. Here is a breakdown of the various general benefits of Vitamin D.
- Vitamin D helps to maintain a balance of phosphorous and calcium in our body.
- It promotes calcium mobilization in the bone and re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys.
- Vitamin D is crucial for the proper growth of bones.
Apart from these, vitamin D also plays an important role in depression, weight loss, and some heart ailments.
Benefits of Vitamin D in Weight Loss
High BMI (Body mass index) leads to lower levels of vitamin D. People with low Vitamin D levels do not tend to lose weight. It impacts the overall weight and affects fat storage in the body. Vitamin D releases neurotransmitters and other hormones like serotonin and testosterone. Serotonin regulates the appetite and testosterone is associated with body fat. High vitamin D levels can enhance the levels of serotonin and testosterone.
Benefits of Vitamin D in Depression
The first line of defense in the case of depression is a healthy brain. Vitamin D keeps the brain healthy throughout life. Vitamin D plays a major role in prenatal development as well. Many studies conclude that sufficient levels of vitamin D improve memory and elevate mood. Vitamin D helps to elevate the level of brain chemicals, viz monoamines. This wonder vitamin is effective in the treatment of SAD I.e seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a category of depression related to seasons.
Benefits of Vitamin D For Marathon Runners And Athletes
Vitamin D is one of the main nutrients for runners as well as for all athletes. Athletes and runners strive to run at a faster speed and Vitamin D plays a major role in improving performance. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause muscle pain and weakness. Sufficient intake of Vitamin D can prevent the risk of chronic stress fractures. Also, vitamin D facilitates various critical processes for optimal athletic performance.
- Vitamin D not only boosts muscle strength and physical performance but also reduces the risk of stress fractures.
- Muscle contraction– Vitamin D stimulates certain enzymes that help in muscle stimulation.
- Nerve stimulation– Vitamin D is essential for the nerves to convey information between the brain and other body parts.
- Anti-inflammatory response– Vitamin D helps to hamper the proteins activating inflammatory response for individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and asthma.
Benefits of Vitamin D in Cancer
Vitamin D helps to reduce the risk of cancer. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and colon cancer are linked with low levels of vitamin D. Patients with breast cancer can minimize medical complications by maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D. Deficiency of this vitamin can also increase the risk of progression of prostate cancer. High levels of unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Vitamin D intake reduces the risk of colon cancers.
Benefits of Vitamin D in Diabetes
Vitamin D diminishes the risk of type I diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to insulin resistance as well as in inhibiting the insulin secretion from the pancreas. Supplementation improves the functioning of beta cells which make insulin.
Benefits of Vitamin D in Cardiovascular disease
One of the main risk factors in cardiovascular disease is when fat cells tend to absorb vitamin D and restrict it from circulating in the bloodstream. All micronutrients like sodium, potassium, zinc, Vitamins and other mineral play an important role when it comes to having a healthy heart.
Deficiency of Vitamin D –
The deficiency of this vitamin can result in two bone conditions.
1] Osteomalacia in adults. Osteomalacia leads to weakening of bones and eventually in tilted bones.
2] Rickets in children. Rickets causes bone deformation and poor growth such as enlarged joints, skull deformation, bowed legs, and beaded ribs.
To conclude there is a possibility of vitamin D overdose and it is toxic to our body. It can cause many side effects such as nausea, irritability, vomiting, weight loss and constipation. So it is important not to exceed its intake of 4000 IU per day. The excessive amount of anything good can turn out to be bad. Therefore it is best to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and take supplements only when required.
Please do check out our Youtube channel and subscribe to watch health-related news and informative videos. Subscribe now.