Top 3 Benefits of Vitamin D and How to Get More Of It
Have you gotten enough sunshine today? Depending on where you live and what time of year it is, getting an adequate amount of sun may be difficult for some. Yes, the sun is required for life to continue on earth, but did you know it also has some significant health benefits as well? Your body needs sunlight to create vitamin D. Unfortunately, roughly 42% of the US population does not get enough vitamin D from the sun or nutrition, leaving potential risks for health problems. So, just how important is vitamin D? Let’s take a deeper dive.
What is vitamin D, and why do you need it?
Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced in the kidneys due to sunlight directly hitting your skin. It can be found in some foods; however, it is typically not enough to provide your body with the amount needed to maintain your health. The main vitamin D components include D2, obtained from plants, and D3, obtained from lanolin. If you are looking to improve your health, increasing your vitamin D is an excellent starting point. Here are the top three benefits of vitamin D.
#1 Strengthens Bones, Muscles, and Teeth
I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of vitamin D for strong bones a time or two in your life. That’s because it’s a very accurate statement. Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, both vital for healthy bones, muscles, and teeth. Older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, where the bones become weak and brittle. It is also important for bone growth and development in children.
Studies show that vitamin D plays an essential role in improving muscle strength, injury prevention, and overall muscle function. There is still more research to be done. However, so far, vitamin D proves to be another key vitamin for building and maintaining muscle mass and stability, which is vital for every age.
When it comes to healthy teeth, proper brushing and flossing are only one part of the factor. Lack of vitamin D is directly linked to mineral deficiencies in oral health, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. Because calcium and phosphorus create the bony structure that makes up tooth enamel, you can see why vitamin D is critical for having healthy, strong teeth. Regular oral health practices are always encouraged but speak with your doctor to find ways to increase your vitamin D for an extra health benefit.
#2 Supports the Immune System and Fights Inflammation
It’s no secret your immune system takes a hit from everyday toxins, lack of proper nutrition, and viruses and bacteria. When your immune system is weak, you are more susceptible to become ill. Without this complex system working together on your behalf, your body would not be protected from the sneaky invaders that cause illnesses and disease. So how does vitamin D help strengthen and protect your immune system and fight inflammation? Vitamin D supports the immune system by helping with the proper functioning of T cells and B cells, both key in fighting off illness. Recent research shows that individuals with lower vitamin D levels failed to inhibit inflammatory response compared to those with higher levels. Over the years, researchers have taken a more in-depth look at chronic inflammation finding it can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. Increase your vitamin D, especially during cold and flu season, to boost your immune system and fight inflammation.
#3 Helps Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Maybe you have heard of the wintertime blues or experienced it yourself. Unfortunately for many, depression is real and often increased during the winter months when access to the sun is less available. Not only does the sun give you a nice glow, but it makes you feel good too! Because vitamin D plays a role in healthy brain function, research suggests insufficient vitamin D levels are linked to depression and other mental disorders. Another study conducted in 2013 analyzed a group of individuals who were currently battling depression. The study showed these individuals also had lower levels of vitamin D. If you are battling depression, know you are not alone, and it is okay to reach out for help. If you have not tried vitamin D to help fight symptoms of depression, it may be the missing link for you.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms below, a lack of vitamin D may be the reason. If you suspect you are deficient in vitamin D, speak with your doctor. They will be able to test your levels and recommend proper supplementation.
- Bone pain
- Getting sick often
- Muscle weakness, aches, or cramps
- Tooth decay
- Changes in mood, including depression
How to Get More Vitamin D
These top benefits show just how vital vitamin D is and why it is an essential nutrient you cannot live without. Take the time to discover which method of getting more vitamin D is right for you. It is one of the easiest ways to improve your health. Increase your vitamin D by getting more sunlight, incorporating foods such as milk and salmon, and taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. Help prevent illness and do your body a favor by benefiting from everything vitamin D has to offer.