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A guide to what Vitamin D is and why it is important?

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins that was discovered in the 13th century.  This vitamin holds special importance for the human body and is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight.

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood. Although it’s firmly established as one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, it’s not technically a vitamin.  Confusion right?

Okay, so let’s break it down. 

Vitamin D is not one chemical but many. It is produced by the human body and is absent from all-natural foods except for fish and egg yolk. But even if it’s obtained from foods, it must be transformed by the body before it can do you any good.

Vitamin D has several important functions, the most vital ones being regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function.  Some other functions it assists with are:

  • Regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management
  • Supporting lung function and cardiovascular health
  • Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development

If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, there is a risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).

How do we get VITAMIN D?

Sun exposure is the most reliable and economical way to get vitamin D. It is said that more than 80 percent of the vitamin D needed for the body comes through the exposure of sunlight.

Studies show that for a person with lighter skin, exposure of the hands, face, arms, and legs to sunlight (without sunscreen) for about 20 minutes, three to four times a week, helps in creating a supply of the vitamin D needed by the body. However, for persons with darker skin and the elderly longer sun exposure is required. With that being said, the requirement varies from person to person.  Other factors such as age, skin type, season, and time of day also play a part in determining the needs of Vitamin D for the body.

Here are 4 surprising and very interesting benefits of Vitamin D

1.Vitamin D fights disease

These are some additional benefits which research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in 

It helps in reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Another important factor is that helps in decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation Trusted Source
A great aid to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Trusted Source.

2. Vitamin D reduces depression

Research shows that vitamin D might also play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one of the recent studies, scientists have found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.

3. Vitamin D boosts weight loss

If you are someone who is planning a weight loss journey it is recommended to consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet. In one recent study, people taking daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement.

The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect. (this could vary from person to person) In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.

4. Healthy Pregnancy

2019 research suggests that pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D may have a greater risk of developing preeclampsia and giving birth preterm. Doctors also associate poor vitamin D status with gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. Experts that too much Vitamin D also is not good for pregnant

The flip side of excessive consumption of vitamin D can lead to over calcification of bones and the hardening of blood vessels, kidney, lung, and heart tissues. There it is important to maintain the right amount.

As much as the benefits of Vitamin D, there are times many factors that can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts through the sun alone, some of them are as follows

  • Geographical Locations -  areas with high pollution, work night shifts, or are homebound should aim to consume vitamin D from food sources whenever possible.
  • Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 can reduce the body’s ability to synthesize the vitamin by 95% or more. Covering the skin with clothing can inhibit vitamin D production also.
  • Spending more time indoors
  • A darker skin complexion. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)

So, one needs to be careful and with a sensible amount of sun exposure on bare skin for 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, so make sure this is done consistently, especially in winter. In the end, the total diet and eating patterns also play an important part in good health. Health insurance is too important in life as other factors are. So make sure to check out our health insurance plans and learn its importance.

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