Vitamin D is a hormone that does an impressive amount of work throughout the body. Unfortunately, many people today are deficient in this key nutrient. Whereas deficiency puts you at risk of diseases and mood disorders, supplementation ensures you reap the benefits of vitamin D, such as better immunity, weight management, and mood. When it comes to supplementation, vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D you want to take for optimal absorption and to avoid potential toxicity from its synthetic form, vitamin D2.
Vitamin D, technically a hormone, plays an influential role throughout the entire body. You can get it from sunlight as well as a small number of foods, such as egg yolks, raw milk, and cheese, beef liver, tuna, and salmon. Since not everyone has year-round access to adequate sunshine, supplementing with vitamin D is often crucial to good health.
You may have noticed that milk and orange juice are often fortified with vitamin D. This form of vitamin D is typically vitamin D2, which is a synthetic form of vitamin D also found in most vitamin supplements. Vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D that you can get in supplement form. Research shows that vitamin D2 is less absorbable and can be toxic in higher amounts. On the other hand, vitamin D3 is non-toxic and highly bioavailable, which makes it an excellent choice for boosting low levels of vitamin D and reaping the many benefits it offers your body and mind.
1. Promotes Bone Health
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Without it, calcium is excreted instead of used to build strong bones. Vitamin D is needed to metabolize phosphorus, which is another mineral required in bones. According to research, vitamin D slows the aging of the musculoskeletal structure, thereby protecting the overall health of aging seniors. Studies have concluded that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the instance of fractures and falls in adults over 65 at doses of 800 to 5,000 IU per day.
2. May Help Fight Cancer
Vitamin D has been found to provide anticancer actions against at least 16 different types of cancer. In fact, one study concluded that simply maintaining a sufficient level of vitamin D cuts your cancer risk by 60 percent. Research points to its ability to diminish the proliferation of cancer cells and encourage the self-destruction of mutated cells that can cause cancer. It also stops the progression of noncancerous tumors into cancerous ones.
3. May Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Vitamin D deficiency is a contributing risk factor for heart disease. Studies on the impact of vitamin D supplementation have found it reduces high blood pressure, inflammation and calcified plaque in blood vessels, thereby reducing your risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.
4. Promotes Eye Health
Vitamin D3 supplementation may help improve vision in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness. In one study, rats given vitamin D3 for six weeks experienced improved vision. This effect was accompanied by reduced eye inflammation and levels of amyloid beta accumulation in the eyes, which is a plaque-like buildup that impairs vision. Researchers concluded that vitamin D3 supplementation could greatly benefit people at risk of AMD.
According to another research, A 2007 study in the Archives of Ophthalmology evaluated the effects of vitamin D intake on macular degeneration that occurs with age. Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, who authored the study, discovered that individuals who had higher amounts of vitamin D in their blood were less likely to develop early-onset age-related macular degeneration. A vitamin D3 supplement can, therefore, have an anti-aging effect on the eyes.
Other research has suggested vitamin D deficiency is common in the case of AMD. One study found that women with the highest vitamin D intakes had a 59 percent reduced risk of AMD compared to women with the lowest intakes.
5. Helps Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
While vitamin D is found to diminish amyloid plaque buildup in the eyes, it’s also been shown to reduce amyloid plaque in the brain, which is found in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaque in the brain kills nerve cells, resulting in the cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Research appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer Disease found that vitamin D3 supplementation combined with curcumin (a medicinal compound in turmeric root) reduced amyloid plaque in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
6. Helps with Weight Management
In a study on over 4,600 women over the age of 65, researchers discovered that vitamin D deficiency was a contributing factor in weight gain. Compared to women getting enough vitamin D, women with low vitamin D weighed more and gained an average of 2 pounds extra over a period of 4 and a half years. Another study observed that more than half of the people who opt for weight loss surgery are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D3 supplementation helps ensure your vitamin D levels aren’t fighting your weight loss efforts or making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
7. Supports Mood
As a hormone that works synergistically with all other hormones, vitamin D is closely involved in mood regulation. Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to a higher occurrence of mood disorders. According to a 2014 review of the current research on depression and its connection to vitamin D, vitamin D3 supplementation significantly improves symptoms of depression.
8. Helps Fight Viruses
Vitamin D3 supplements help your immune system defend against viruses like the common cold and seasonal flus. In a study on 334 children, researchers administered either 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo each day for four months during the winter season. By the end of the study, they found that the vitamin D3 group had healthier immune systems, with 40 percent fewer instances of influenza.
9. Supports the Bone Mineralization by Boosting the Absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus
Calcium is definitively the most important mineral for bone health, as it’s the most abundant mineral that makes up the skeletal system. Vitamin D3 is required for the assimilation of calcium from food and supplements. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D3, dietary calcium is excreted instead of incorporated into the bone. Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to low bone mineral density for this reason. According to studies, vitamin D3 deficiency can cause rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults–two diseases characterized by weak bones and low bone mineral density. Meanwhile, supplementing with vitamin D3 has been shown to increase bone density and lower the risk of bone fracture.
Vitamin D3 is also needed for the body to absorb dietary phosphorus, which is the second most abundant mineral found in your skeletal system. Research shows that vitamin D3 supplementation slows the aging of the musculoskeletal structure, thereby protecting aging senior citizens from a host of health problems, including arthritis, osteoporosis and metabolic bone diseases. Studies have determined that vitamin D3 supplementation at doses of 800 to 5,000 IU per day significantly lowers the instance of falls and bone fractures in senior citizens over the age of 65.
10. Helps Prevents and Improves Osteoporosis
A small amount of calcium is required in the bloodstream for basic cellular functions. Typically this calcium is absorbed from food in the digestive tract and released into the bloodstream, but when vitamin D3 levels are insufficient, a hormone is secreted that signals the skeletal system to release calcium from bone. When calcium leaves the skeleton to be used in the bloodstream on a long-term basis, bone mineral density is lowered, creating the risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to a higher rate of osteoporosis, and supplementation with vitamin D3 is shown to improve bone mineral density and protect against osteoporosis. In individuals with osteoporosis, vitamin D3 supplementation has been shown to increase bone mineral density and reduce bone loss. These effects are compounded when vitamin D3 is combined with calcium.
11. Helps Prevent and Improves Arthritis
According to a cohort study involving 44 rheumatoid arthritis patients, vitamin D status was assessed. The results showed that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among rheumatoid arthritis patients and is linked to joint and musculoskeletal pain. The researchers suggested that vitamin D3 plays a key role in the prevention of arthritis and could be useful in pain management for people living with arthritis.
In a study involving 100 people, including 50 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 50 healthy controls, 84 percent of those with arthritis were deficient in vitamin D, as compared to 34 percent of the controls. Overall, vitamin D levels were significantly lower in people with rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting a correlation between vitamin D and the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency is likely a factor that causes or worsens the disease.
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science found that vitamin D reduced inflammation in people with vitamin D deficiency. It also found that in people with chronic pain, including arthritic joint pain, vitamin D helped reduce pain in those with low vitamin D levels. Therefore, vitamin D3 supplementation can play a role in managing joint pain and arthritis by preventing and shoring up deficiency.
11. Deficiency Risks and How to Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many diseases and to faster rates of aging and cognitive decline. If you wear sunscreen, live in a polluted city or don’t get year-round sunshine, you’re more likely to experience deficiency. Chronic stress is also a factor in deficiency because the stress hormone cortisol reduces vitamin D absorption.
Low stomach bile also reduces vitamin D absorption because it’s a fat-soluble nutrient. You want to take vitamin D3 supplements with healthy sources of fat, such as coconut oil, avocados, nuts or seeds to improve assimilation. In fact, to assimilate vitamin D from sunlight, you need enough healthy fat in your skin.
Too often, there are obstacles to getting enough vitamin D. Your safest bet is to take a vitamin D3 supplement. It’s naturally derived and bioavailable, so it’s sure to give you all the important health benefits of vitamin D.
- Management https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666851/