There are plenty of benefits to getting the proper amount of vitamin D, and it’s worth the time and effort to make sure that you’re topped up on it. This should be done with a combination of food, sunshine, and a supplement if needed. Vitamin D is one of the more unique vitamins out there because your body can actually manufacture it by getting regular exposure to the sun, and you can run a deficiency if you avoid the sun altogether. So be sure to keep an eye on your levels and take the steps necessary to enjoy all of the following benefits.
Prevents Cancer- According to one study, vitamin D has a protective effect against cancer and can lower your risk of getting diagnosed. The same study concluded that vitamin D supplementation could be a low-cost way to reduce the risk of death from cancer. This ranks highly for most people, and is a big reason why you should get your daily dose of vitamin D. Here are 15 foods that can help with that.
Helps Prevent MS- If you have a family history of muscular sclerosis, then you should make it a point to get your vitamin D levels in order. Studies show that people with MS tend to have lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies. Because of this, you can help reduce your risk of getting the disease or even reduce existing symptoms by making sure you get enough vitamin D.
Prevents Certain Diseases- Rather than looking at one specific disease in general, it’s good to know that you’re covered against a host of different diseases and conditions by making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. One study found that a lack of vitamin D is linked to tumors, bone metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. The study also found that it’s a risk factor for neuropsychiatric disorders and autoimmune diseases.
Protects Against Radiation- If you’re worried about the dangers of low-level radiation, you might want to pay extra close attention to your vitamin D levels. Most do not have to worry about exposure to this kind of radiation, but if you feel that you’re at risk it’s worth the time and effort to get this in order. Scientists are also saying that in the case of a nuclear incident similar to the one near Tokyo, vitamin D becomes especially important.
Around the Body
Builds Strong Bones- For years, milk advertisements said that milk was good for teeth and bones and hair, and it was the calcium that got the credit. But now we’re finding out that vitamin D plays a big part in helping the body absorb the calcium, and thus helps with the process of strengthening bones. This can be vitamin D that is taken in by the foods we eat, and also the kind that is manufactured as a hormone in the body naturally.
Speaking of calcium, here are some calcium-rich foods you can use to enhance bone health (as long as you keep taking that vitamin D!)
Strengthens Teeth- You might not have made the connection between eating food like salmon, which has good amounts of vitamin D in it, and making your teeth stronger. Research shows that vitamin D also helps protect against tooth decay. There are only so many ways that you can get stronger teeth once you’re an adult, and tending to your vitamin D intake is one of them. You should be sure to combine this with a healthy intake of calcium-rich foods for the best results.
Keeps Hair Healthy- One of the things that vitamin D is known for is helping to reduce stress and keeps you feeling good. This, in turn, helps keep more hair on your head, especially if your hair loss is exacerbated by excessive levels of stress. Research shows that low vitamin D levels are linked to hair loss. Not only that, but it helps your hair looking good and growing strong.
Learn about the symptoms & treatment of vitamin D deficiency.
Keeps You Healthy
Helps the Immune System- Your immune system is responsible for keeping you healthy in general, and anything that supports it is a nod to your health. Vitamin D is great for the immune system, and you’ll find that not getting enough of it each day will result in a reduced functioning of your immune system, which could potentially leave you susceptible to several diseases and conditions. Several factors affect your immune system, so take a comprehensive approach at keeping it running tip-top.
Helps with Weight Loss- Getting enough vitamin D will work wonders on any weight loss efforts you might be engaged in. Neglect this important nutrient and you’ll have to work harder to get the same sort of results. Research shows that overweight people tend to be low in vitamin D. Another study found that women who had higher levels of vitamin D in their body were less likely to gain weight over the years. You can either choose to eat more foods containing vitamin D, get more sunshine to make your own, or take a supplement to keep your levels right. Usually a combination of these is recommended with a supplement only used to cover any gaps.
Helps Balance Calcium Levels- Keeping your calcium levels at the right spot is key to healthy bones, nails, and teeth, and vitamin D acts as a sort of sidekick, making sure that it is assimilated into the body easily, and that it is used as it should be. This means that if there is an excess of calcium, vitamin D can help to normalize how the body reacts, and if there are low levels of calcium, vitamin D can help the body use up the smaller levels as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Helps Manage Blood Pressure- High blood pressure can be a gateway to several different conditions, so making sure that it stays in check is essential to total health and well-being. Since vitamin D can help you feel calmer and more happy, this generally leads to lowered blood pressure naturally, without the use of prescription medication to accomplish the same goal. One study found that people who supplemented with vitamin D for three months significantly reduced their blood pressure levels. Getting more sun exposure is a good place to start, as this is the way the body creates it on its own.
Helps Your Cells- It’s hard to picture the body on a cellular level, and think of it as a bunch of cells working together to keep you going. But that’s just what is happening, and vitamin D can help these cells be their best. Research shows that vitamin D helps maintain cellular functions by maintaining redox reactions and influencing cell signaling.
Not getting enough vitamin D? Start eating more of these vitamin D rich foods.
Helps with Osteoporosis- Because of its ability to help strengthen bones, vitamin D has been shown to help with osteoporosis, which is characterized by poor bone density. A combination of eating the right foods and getting more sun proves to be best.
Helps the Brain- It’s hard to overstate the importance of the brain. Research shows that vitamin D receptors are located all over the brain, and elderly people who are deficient in vitamin D are four times more likely to develop cognitive disorders than those with adequate levels. You don’t have to get carried away and overload your vitamin D levels, just be sure not to run a deficit. Need more snacking ideas? Try these 25 foods to help improve your brain health.
Helps with Depression- If you’re clinically depressed you might want to check to see if you’ve been getting enough sun in recent months. Even if you have not been diagnosed as being depressed, but still exhibit the same sort of signs and symptoms, you may want to see if getting outside in the sunshine does anything to help improve your mood. This is because there is a direct link to the amount of vitamin D you have and how you feel. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, these foods can help.
May Help with Diabetes- There is evidence that suggests that proper vitamin D levels could help manage diabetes. This is because vitamin D plays a role in glucose metabolism. The good news is that it was the supplement form that was tested. This also means that those that are not diabetic can benefit from vitamin D because healthy blood sugar levels lead to better all around health and help you maintain a proper weight.
Helps with Recovery From Bacterial Infections- Research shows that vitamin D may help you recover from a bacterial infection. This only goes to show that this is one aspect of your overall health that you don’t want to neglect. Be sure to keep your vitamin D levels in good supply by eating the proper foods, getting regular exposure to direct sunlight, and using a supplement if needed.
It’s easy enough to fall behind on your vitamin D levels, but the good news is that your body can store it up if it needs to, so if you’re in a region that doesn’t get its fair share of sunshine, try hard to get out and get a bit of sun on the sunny days. If it’s winter where you are, you might need to go out when the sun is at its most powerful to get the effects, and in the summer you can go out when it’s not at its highest point so that you avoid the potentially damaging effects of the sun.
Vitamin D FAQ
Does vitamin D help with depression?
Several studies show that people with depression have low levels of vitamin D. Because of this, we recommend getting plenty of vitamin D as a natural way to help fight depression. Getting out in the sun is a great way to do this.
Is vitamin D a hormone?
Research shows that by definition, vitamin D is a hormone because the body synthesizes it after exposure to the sun. The kidneys and liver then activate it and it acts like a hormone by regulating calcium. No other vitamin in the body goes through this process.
Does vitamin D come from the sun?
Your body can create the hormone form of vitamin D from the sun. The other form is a nutrient that can be found in certain foods such as certain fish, eggs, and mushrooms. If you live in a region that doesn’t get much sun, you should make it a point to get out during the sunny days, as your body is able to store up reserves of the hormone.
Will vitamin D help me lose weight?
Research shows that if you are overweight, then taking a vitamin D supplement can help. One study found that vitamin D deficiency is often linked to obesity. The study took 400 overweight people with vitamin D deficiency and put them on a low-calorie diet. They were then separated into three groups. Two groups were given either 25,000 international units (IU) or 100,000 IU of vitamin D a month and the third group was given no vitamin D at all (in supplement form). Results showed that the groups who took the vitamin D supplements experienced better weight loss.
Here are some tips to get started on an exercise program to further enhance your weight loss.
Does vitamin D help your skin?
It isn’t called the sunshine vitamin for nothing! Because it’s synthesized in the skin, vitamin D can help give you a healthy glow. Research shows that you can apply vitamin D topically to help treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis. If you want to improve the condition of your skin, check out our list of foods that your skin will love.
Is vitamin D the same thing as calcium?
No, vitamin D is its own separate nutrient. The two work hand in hand with each other, and vitamin D can actually help the body take in the right amount of calcium from the foods you eat. Many foods that are high in calcium are also high in vitamin D, which is confusing, but it’s important to know the difference.
Does vitamin D prevent the flu?
One study found that taking vitamin D can help protect you against colds and upper respiratory infections by cutting the risk of illness in half. The best way to prevent the flu is by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed sugars and grains.
Will vitamin D increase energy?
Because vitamin D is working on your body at a cellular level, many people report having more energy when they amp up their low levels of it. It makes you feel better all around, which might mean that it puts that extra pep in your step and makes you feel less sluggish than you did before.
Does vitamin D help acne?
Research shows that vitamin D has antimicrobal properties that can help you fight acne. It also helps regulate the immune system, which can play a role in skin health. One study found that people who took vitamin D supplements for two months had improvements in their acne. Check out our guide for getting rid of acne in seven easy steps.
Is vitamin D toxic?
It’s possible to take toxic levels of vitamin D supplement, but it is not easy to do, and can only be achieved by taking the supplement form. You can’t overdose on the hormone form because your body creates it and stores it up if you make more than it needs. And it’s hard to overdo it on the nutrient form unless you eat a ton of food that’s high in vitamin D. You’d have to deliberately take too much of the vitamin D supplement for it to have a toxic effect. Because of this, we recommend taking only the amount listed on the label of your supplement. Or follow your doctor’s advice and don’t take more than what he or she suggests!
Does vitamin D prevent cancer?
Research shows that vitamin D can help protect against cancer. Additionaly, people who have adequate levels of vitamin D in their bodies tend to have a lower risk of getting cancer.
Will vitamin D help me tan?
In order for your body to synthesize its own vitamin D you’ll need to get out in the sun. This can be tricky because you don’t want to be out too long or you’ll get burned, but your body will usually tell you when it’s had enough sun. A byproduct is you’ll be getting just the right amount, which leads to a tan in those that have the right pigmentation. Interestingly, one study found that the glow you get from fruits and vegetables is more attractive than the one you get from being out in the sun. So try to do both for the best-looking skin!
Is Vitamin D an antioxidant?
Research shows that vitamin D is a membrane antioxidant. One study even found that the antixidant properties in vitamin D was similar to that of the anticancer drug tamoxifen, which could be used to describe its protective effect against diseases.
Will vitamin D help you grow?
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so you should be sure to combine the two if you want it to help your child grow. Any vitamin deficiency will stunt growth; therefore, we recommend eating a wide variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, organic meats, and minimally processed whole grains to get the most nutrition during growth periods.