Most vitamins that are sparsely talked about are usually viewed as unimportant and therefore ignored. But this is a grave fallacy as all vitamins are necessary for a general well and the lack of any could lead to serious health issues. Vitamin D is not just a vitamin we eat, but also a hormone our bodies produce.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that include vitamins D1, D2, and D3. It is also known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus among many other health benefits it possesses which will be listed during this article.
When our bodies are exposed to sunlight, it naturally produces vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be derived from certain foods and supplements to ensure your blood level contains an adequate supply of the vitamin. The following foods are good sources of vitamin D.
- Beef liver
- Canned Tuna
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolk
- Regular Mushrooms
- Fortified cereals
In as much as these foods help in the supply of vitamin D to the body, its production in the skin is the primary natural source of vitamin D, but most people lack its supply due to consistently staying indoors or living in environments where sunlight is limited in winter. Getting enough supply of vitamin D is prominent for the proper development and growth of bones and teeth. Below are some of the benefits of vitamin D in our system;
BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D
Strong and Healthy Bones
Calcium and Phosphorus are very vital factors for maintaining healthy bones, and vitamin D play a vital role in the proper regulation of both.
The deficiency of vitamin D in children is as fatal as it is in adults. It could cause rickets, which invariably leads to a severely bowlegged appearance due to the softening of bones. Likewise in adults, it manifests as osteomalacia which results in poor bone density and muscular weakness.
Supports immune system
People who lack vitamin D might be at risk of infections, viruses, bacteria, and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, arthritis, etc. Observational studies have done so far see a strong connection with lower rates of certain diseases among people that live in sunnier climates. This might be the reason the covid19 virus was less fatal in African countries in contrast to the number of deaths that were recorded in western countries.
It might enhance weight loss
Some older studies have shown that people who take a daily dose of calcium and vitamin D supplements lose more weight. They suggest that the extra calcium and vitamin D helps in suppressing appetite. Current research may not support the above ideology but cannot deny that there’s a relationship between vitamin D and weight.
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCIES
Vitamin D deficiencies can happen when a person does not consume enough vitamin D or is unable to absorb or metabolize the vitamin. Low vitamin D levels can lead to various problems, especially related to the bones and muscles. Certain risk factors can cause a deficiency in vitamin D intake, some of them are
- Lifestyle factors(Consistently staying indoors)
- Geographical factors
- Skin type (People with darker skin need more sunlight exposure to produce vitamin D, much more than those with lighter skin)
- Old Age
We have already mentioned two symptoms resulting from the lack of vitamin D, one of them being osteomalacia. Others include depression, hair loss, muscle pain, regular sickness or infection fatigue, etc. If these symptoms persist for a long time without being taken care of, it could lead to worse health issues, such as
- Neurological diseases
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Pregnancy complications
- Cancer (especially prostate, colon, and breast)
It is advisable to get vitamin D from natural sources instead of supplements. Because supplements pose a risk of supplying an excess of it, which could cause headache, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea, and in more severe cases diarrhea.
No vitamin is least important or more important than the rest. Knowledge, they say is power but knowledge is also life. Understanding the benefits of each vitamin enables you to take better care of yourself and others around you.