Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” as it is produced in the skin in response to sunlight. It is a fat soluble vitamin whose family of compounds includes vitamin D1, D2, and D3. This vitamin is of utmost importance because it may impact up to 2,000 genes in the body. Some of its major functions include aiding absorption of nutrients like phosphorus and calcium, which in turn ensures strong immunity and strong bones. Here are the major benefits of vitamin D:
1. Vitamin D Fights Disease
According to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, vitamin D lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis. Another study has found that it reduces the risk of developing heart disease as well. Ultimately, a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that it helps reduce the change of developing the flu.
3. Vitamin D Reduces Depression
It has been scientifically shown that vitamin D plays a role in regulation mood and preventing depression. One particular study found that those with depression who received vitamin D supplementation experienced a notable improvement in their condition. Another study found that vitamin D deficiency is more common in people with depression and anxiety.
3. Vitamin D Boosts Weight Loss
According to one study, regular vitamin D supplementation helped people improve their heart disease risk factors. Another study found that those taking vitamin D supplements and calcium lost more weight compared to those taking placebo supplements. As explained by the researchers, vitamin D and calcium had appetite- suppressing effect.
Vitamin D Deficiency
The major symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include constipation or diarrhea, bladder problems, general fatigue, muscle cramps, restless sleep, muscle pain or weakness, joint pain, headaches, and inability to concentrate. As noted by Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness typically stems from vitamin D deficiency as this vitamin is needed for the skeletal muscles to function optimally.
Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure
Vitamin D is produced in response to sunlight, meaning that putting chemically-loaded sunscreens basically depletes us of this precious nutrient. Sunscreens are designed to block UVB rays which are directly included in the production of vitamin D by our bodies. UVB rays have the ability to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and the cholesterol in the tissue skin then absorbs it to make vitamin D. On the other hand, sunscreens allow UVA rays which are associated with DNA damage and onset of most skin cancers.
But, vitamin D3 cannot get into the bloodstream right away! It takes time for it to be absorbed from the skin into the blood. Therefore, washing the skin after sun exposure has to be delay as you can wash the skin`s oil which have initiated the vitamin D process. Unfortunately, science dictates us to use sunscreens that are packed with cancer-causing substances and avoid the sun which actually protects against skin cancer. What a shame!
How To Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D
UVB rays are strongest during summer and are at their peak during mid day. It has been scientifically proven that 8,000 to 10,000 IU in dosages are generally safe for everyone. Person`s ability to produce D3 heavily depends on the skin color. Light skinned individuals need to be exposed to full sun from 10 to 45 minutes while dark skinned individuals from 2 to 2.5 hours.