Your body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium and to promote bone growth. Children who have too little vitamin D can have soft bones, known as rickets. Adults with too low levels of vitamin D can have fragile or misshapen bones, known as osteomalacia. Vitamin D is essential for other body functions, as well.
Benefits of Vitamin D
In addition to the proven benefit of vitamin D in helping calcium build healthy bones, this vitamin also helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system and plays significant roles in the life cycle of human cells. Therefore, vitamin D is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system and for the long-term health of bones and other body systems.
Deficiencies can cause Health Problems
Scientists have linked vitamin D deficiency to various health problems, including cancer of the breast, prostate, and colon, heart disease, depression, and weight gain. Results of many scientific studies suggest that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of heart disease and other life-threatening problems.
What is known about the importance of vitamin D has only been learned in the last 15 years, which means there is not a clear consensus about this critical nutrient. Some recent studies have suggested that having proper vitamin D levels are necessary to prevent disease, reduce depression, and boost weight loss.
Other Health Correlations
As doctors learn more about the importance of vitamin D, other correlational effects have been noted. Insufficient vitamin D is indicated as a possible risk for type 2 diabetes. Research says vitamin D is necessary for the development of healthy infants as well as healthy pregnancies.
Produced through Sun Exposure
Vitamin D is also known as the “sun vitamin” because your body produces it in your skin when exposed to sunlight. In addition to naturally making Vitamin D through sun, your body gets vitamin D from the foods you eat and supplements you may take.
Occurs Naturally in Foods
Vitamin D does not occur naturally in many foods but can be found in some fortified foods. Sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, and fortified milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice.
Vitamin D deficiency is common among people who live in northern latitudes, people who work at night, or anyone who otherwise doesn’t receive adequate sun exposure. Although vitamin D supplements can be taken, it is best to obtain any vitamin or mineral from natural sources wherever possible.