If you’ve ever heard someone, use the phrase “soaking up the sun” or maybe even used it yourself, it may be helpful to know that the “sun” you’re soaking up is really Vitamin D. Known lovingly as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced in your skin in response to being exposed to the warm rays. Here at Pro Coffee, we are all about health. Our mission is to strive for enhancement in every aspect of our lives and the lives of each of you. That’s why we have compiled some helpful information to help you make the best choices for your body and your mind, both in and out of the kitchen. Today we are discussing the benefits of Vitamin D and why your body needs it. Grab your best pair of sunglasses, and let’s get learning.
First of All, What is Vitamin D?
The Vitamin D compound of vitamins includes D1, D2, and D3. Also known as calciferol, this fat-soluble vitamin is an essential nutrient for the human body to function at its best. While the body naturally produces the vitamin under ultraviolet rays, certain foods and pills can be added to your daily diet that will help regulate the levels of the vitamin in your blood.
What does Vitamin D Do & What are the Benefits?
Vitamin D is necessary for various purposes in the human body, such as aiding the absorption of calcium
and paving the way for proper immune system function. There are many benefits of Vitamin D that help the body, the mind and the spirit, and not one of them is to be overlooked.
The benefits of Vitamin D include:
● Fighting Diseases
Studies have found vitamin D to help reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease and even certain strains of the flu. Frequent vitamin D intake helps to boost your immune system which will keep other viral infections at bay as well.
● Creating Healthy Bones
Vitamin D works to both regulate and maintain the levels of phosphorus and calcium in the blood. This is necessary for the intestines to absorb excess calcium that the kidneys would typically eradicate. Calcium allows your bones to grow and strengthen and is especially necessary in children and older adults.
● Keeping Babies Healthy
Vitamin D is essential for infants as they grow. A deficiency in vitamin D has been shown to lead to high blood pressure and stiff arterial walls in children. Those children who are exposed to calcium filled food items like eggs and milk are less prone to developing allergies later in life, too. Vitamin D is extremely important in early pregnancy as well, in an effort to give both the mother and the child added protection and benefits.
● Improve Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
The exact nature of the connection is still unclear, but science has shown a person’s vitamin D level to impact their likelihood of developing SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Those who are diagnosed tend to produce lower levels of vitamin D which directly affects serotonin creation. The connection is so strong that some doctors may prescribe Vitamin D supplements to patients that they believe to be suffering from seasonal depression. Many offices now use what is known as a “Happy Light” which puts out non-threatening UV rays that mimic the effects of the sun. Spending some time around a device like this can jump start vitamin D in the body!
● Preventing Decline of Cognitive Health and Development of Dementia
Over the years research has found correlations between vitamin D and degenerative cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Maintaining healthy levels of the vitamin may help prevent the onset and growth of the aforementioned diseases inside the human brain.
● Aiding in Weight Loss
If you are actively trying to get yourself in better shape, adding Vitamin D supplements to your daily routine may not be a bad idea. Not only can the vitamin help prevent heart disease, it can help suppress your appetite through extra exposure to calcium. Those who struggle with weight loss should try adding this supplement to their diet to give their body the kick it needs.
How is Vitamin D Different from Other Nutrients You May Hear About?
While the word “Vitamin” is in the name, Vitamin D actually behaves more like a hormone inside the body. Where other vitamins actively participate in metabolizing food into energy, Vitamin D does not. It simply acts as a messenger for the other vitamins and carries the potential to affect everything from your weight to individual organ function.
Vitamin D Deficiencies: What They are and how to Spot Them
Vitamin D deficiency can only be diagnosed through blood work, so making sure you have regular labs done is a good idea.
Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect a vitamin D deficiency are:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Getting sick or developing minor illnesses often Chronic back pain
- New or worsening bone pain
- Depressive episodes, new onset depression
- Poor wound healing
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
What are Good Sources of Vitamin D?
There are very few foods that naturally contain traceable levels of Vitamin D. Many of them are fortified, meaning that vitamin D has been added. Supplements are a good idea for those who do not have regular exposure to sunlight, or the foods listed below.
Food items that are good sources of vitamin D, naturally and fortified, are:
- Orange juice