Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for optimal health.
Only a handful of foods Contains a significant amount of this vitamin. These include fatty fish, viscera, certain fungi and fortified foods.
However, unlike other vitamins that the body can only get through diet, vitamin D can also be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to the sun.
For this reason, vitamin D is often referred to as "sunshine vitamin."
The lack of vitamin D in the diet combined with insufficient sun exposure can explain why up to 41.6% of the US population suffers from short blood .
Interestingly, having enough of this vitamin in the blood can provide many important health benefits.
This article lists 15 benefits of vitamin D on a scientific basis.
1. Improve bone health
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health.
That's because it increases absorption calcium and phosphorus from the diet. These are two important nutrients for bone health.
Studies show that individuals with low blood levels tend to lose more bone .
In addition, research shows that people taking vitamin D supplements may have a 23-33% lower risk of fracture .
Furthermore, recent studies suggest that taking vitamin D supplements may help improve bone fracture healing, especially in people with low vitamin D levels. However, more research is needed to support these results .
Most experts recommend that people with blood levels below 12 ng / ml (25 nmol / l) should consider taking vitamin D supplements at least 20-25 mcg (800-1,000 IU) daily .
However, some people believe that this recommendation is too low and suggest that people take higher doses to maintain blood vitamin D levels above 30 ng / ml (75 nmol / l) .
Anyway, all experts agreed that older people at risk of falls and fractures should be supplemented more .
Crux : Vitamin D helps increase the absorption of minerals that are important for bone health. Higher vitamin D levels may also reduce the risk of fractures, limit bone loss and improve recovery from fractures.
2. Reduce the risk of diabetes
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body cannot handle carb as usual. There are several types of diabetes, but types 1 and 2 are the most common.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, while type 2 diabetes usually occurs later in life and involves lifestyle.
Interestingly, vitamin D may help reduce the risk of both types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes in children
Type 1 diabetes is a genetic autoimmune disease that destroys produced beta cells insulin in the pancreas.
For this reason, people with type 1 diabetes must get insulin injections several times a day to be sure blood sugar their level is stable .
Although type 1 diabetes has a large genetic component, certain environmental factors - which may include low vitamin D levels - may combine to promote disease development.
For example, studies show that infants and toddlers who take vitamin D supplements may be 29-88% less likely to have type 1 diabetes than children who do not receive it .
Recommended daily intake is 10 mcg (400 IU) of vitamin D for infants from 0-12 months and 15 mcg (600 IU) for most children and adults .
However, many people believe that these recommendations are too low, with one study showing that a single daily dose is 50 mcg (2,000 IU) and has successfully reduced the risk of type 1 diabetes .
That means, so far, very little research has been done on the relationship between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Type 2 diabetes in children, adolescents and adults
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that develops over time. It can happen if the pancreas stops producing enough insulin, or if the body develops insulin resistance - or both .
Interestingly, vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes .
Experts believe that vitamin D can protect against type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin resistance, increasing insulin sensitivity and enhancing the function of cells responsible for making insulin .
In fact, two recent reports show that people with low blood levels of vitamin D may have a 55% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes .
Furthermore, adults who consume at least 12.5 mcg of vitamin D daily seem to be 13% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who regularly consume less than 5 mcg daily .
Similar results were reported in children with vitamin D deficiency and adolescents with insulin resistance .
In another study, patients with type 2 diabetes were offered 1,250 mcg (50,000 IU) per week of vitamin D which reduced blood sugar levels and reduced insulin by 5-21% during the two-month study period. with limited groups .
It is important to mention that not all studies agree on protective effects when taking additional vitamin D .
Although not all patients with type 2 diabetes benefit from vitamin D supplementation, it is especially beneficial for people with poor blood sugar control .
Crux : Appropriate vitamin D levels may help reduce the risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In some cases, vitamin D supplements may also help improve blood sugar control in diabetic patients. Type 2.
3. Improve cardiovascular health
Vitamin D can help improve heart health and reduce the likelihood of a heart attack.
In one study, men with blood concentrations below 15 ng / ml (37 nmol / l) were twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who were 30 ng / ml (75 nmol / l). or higher .
In another study, the likelihood of developing heart disease was 153% for people with blood levels of vitamin D below 15 ng / ml (37 nmol / l) .
The highest risk occurred in people with low vitamin D levels but also high blood pressure .
However, although low levels of vitamin D in the blood are often associated with the risk of heart disease, many studies do not find a risk of reducing heart disease when taking vitamin D supplements .
Experts speculate that other factors related to balanced vitamin D levels may be in use, such as time outdoors or a vitamin D supplement instead of soft drink .
Therefore, although vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for many other reasons, increasing vitamin D levels through lifestyle seems to be the best strategy against heart disease.
Crux : Individuals with good vitamin D status have a lower risk of heart disease. However, the supplement does not seem to be effective.
4. May reduce the risk of certain cancers
Maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may have some benefits to prevent cancer.
In fact, different studies show that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer .
Two recent reports show that people with adequate vitamin D levels may reduce their risk of bladder cancer by 25%. Higher vitamin D levels may also reduce the risk of death from disease .
Similarly, other studies show that maintaining blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer .
In addition, some studies report that vitamin D may play a role in slowing the progression of cancer. However, whether vitamin D supplementation provides any anti-cancer benefits remains unclear .
In fact, some studies do not find protection against cancer after participants take vitamin D, even though blood levels have increased .
In short, more research is needed to determine the cause and effect, as well as the true value of vitamin D supplementation as an anti-cancer strategy.
Until then, focusing on maintaining enough vitamin D through lifestyle choices known to reduce cancer risk can be a wise choice. For example, through a healthy diet and regular physical activity - it is best to be outdoors.
Crux : Vitamin D may play a role in cancer prevention. However, much research is needed to determine its exact role.
5. Reduce the risk of premature death
Vitamin D can help you live longer.
Indeed, some studies have described a significant relationship between blood vitamin D levels and the risk of premature death .
For example, a Cochrane review study surveyed 50 randomized controlled studies - the gold standard in scientific research.
It shows that people taking vitamin D supplements have a 6% lower risk of premature death .
Therefore, people who get enough vitamin D from the sun, diet or supplements can increase their lifespan to several years.
Crux : Maintaining good levels of vitamin D can reduce the risk of premature death.
6. Reduce depressive symptoms
Researchers are now discovering that vitamin D may also affect depression.
The exact role of vitamins in the development of depression has not been fully understood. One theory is that it increases serotonin levels in the brain, a contributing factor to a sense of happiness and positive .
Accordingly, a recent report showed that low vitamin D levels may increase the likelihood of depression by up to 131% .
However, research to date has not provided clear evidence that vitamin D supplementation is effective in treating or preventing depression .
Interestingly, it may depend on the severity of the symptoms.
For example, vitamin D supplements seem to be most effective in reducing symptoms in people with severe, but ineffective symptoms of depression in people with mild to moderate symptoms .
However, more research is needed to support these effects and determine the most effective supplementary recommendations.
Crux : Vitamin D may help prevent or reduce depressive symptoms, especially in people with severe disease symptoms.
7. Increase muscle strength
Recent studies show an association between vitamin D, muscle growth and strength in both adults and the elderly.
A recent review looked at the effects of vitamin D on adults playing sports and not playing sports.
It found that people who received vitamin D supplements increased their strength in both upper and lower body parts a little more than those without supplements .
Similarly, some studies have examined whether vitamin D affects muscle strength, risk of falls and weakness in the elderly. A large number of adults show that supplements increase muscle strength and are less likely to fall than placebo .
The daily dose of 20-25 mcg (800-1,000 IU) is sufficient to produce improvements in the elderly. The benefits seem to be strongest in people who start at low vitamin D levels .
Studies done on young people have been reported to take high doses of vitamin D up to eight times. Therefore, a stronger dose may be needed to see an increase in muscle strength in young people .
However, more research is needed before making final proposals.
Crux : Maintaining good levels of vitamin D can help strengthen muscles. It may also reduce the risk of falls and weakness in the elderly.
8. Can help prevent and treat multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease involving the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve of the eye.
Some studies show that blood levels of vitamin D may help reduce the risk of MS by up to 62% .
People with MS who can maintain high levels of vitamin D can slow the progression of the disease .
However, only a few studies have been done in this group .
Crux : Vitamin D may reduce the risk of MS and slow its progression. However, more research is needed.
Over the last decade, vitamin D has become a particularly popular topic in scientific research.
For this reason, new studies on the benefits of vitamin D are constantly appearing in many areas. Some potential additional benefits include:
9. Less asthma attacks: The daily dose of 7.5-30 mcg (300-1,200 IU) may reduce the likelihood of asthma in school-aged children .
10. Preventing colds: Vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the risk of upper respiratory infection (URTI) .
11. Improving recovery after surgery: Appropriate blood levels may enhance recovery after surgery .
12. Chronic pain relief: Proper vitamin D levels may help reduce pain in some people, but not all people with chronic pain .
13. Helping healthy babies: Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy can help increase the height and weight of newborns .
14. Protection against Parkinson's disease: Higher blood levels may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease .
15. Reduce age-related neurological decline: Appropriate blood levels may reduce the risk of mental decline in the elderly .
It is important to note that research on the benefits listed above is generally still inadequate.
In addition, the way some studies are designed makes it possible to determine whether low vitamin D levels actually cause side effects.
Crux : Full vitamin D levels are related to many health benefits. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.
Message for you
Vitamin D plays a number of important roles in the body.
Therefore, maintaining the appropriate level - whether through food, sunshine or functional food - is very important for optimal health.
In fact, many people lack vitamin D but do not know. For this reason, you should do a vitamin D test.
People who are deficient and unable to enhance sun exposure should consider taking supplements, preferably in the form of vitamin D3.
Recommended dosage may vary from person to person. Discuss this with your doctor or dietitian.
People who choose to increase their vitamin D levels from the sun should avoid excessive sun exposure as it can cause sunburn.