Vitamin D Benefits
Vitamin D Benefits For Health
- Immune support
Vitamin D supports the “killer cells” of the immune system. These are important for seeking out and destroying pathogens. These “Killer cells” lie dormant around the body until they’re needed to fend off an invader. They rely on signals from the body to be activated.
Vitamin D is one of the most important ingredients for these signals. Vitamin D plays a role in the cell’s ability to go into alert mode, and tells the cell to calm down when the job is done. If the “Killer cell” continues to rampage through the body, it can cause collateral damage and may contribute to autoimmune disorders.
- Fighting disease
In addition to its primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in: reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis; decreasing your chance of developing heart disease; regulating insulin levels and aiding diabetes management; supporting lung function and cardiovascular health; and even helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu.
How do you know you are Vitamin D-ficient?
Many lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include: pollution; use of sunscreen; spending more time indoors; living in big cities where buildings block sunlight; having darker skin.
These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people.
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include: general tiredness, aches and pains; severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs; stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips.
Where to get Vitamin D
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight.
This doesn’t mean you need to get out there and expose your bare skin all day, everyday. A little can go a long way. All you need is about 10 minutes a day of midday, pre-sunscreen sun exposure.
If natural sun exposure is difficult where you live or based on your lifestyle, you can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Foods that contain vitamin D include: oily fish like salmon and sardines; egg yolk; and fortified foods such as milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.
The bottom line
With such a wide range of health benefits, and considering how easy it is to ensure we have a steady supply, it is rather surprising that so many of us are actually vitamin D deficient.
So the next sunny day when you have a few moments to spare, before picking up your phone, turning on the TV, or doing those chores that you’ve been meaning to do – open the door, head outside, soak in some of those glorious rays, and let your body produce the vitamin D that you need.