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Vitamin D: Health Benefits, Sources And How Much To Take

Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin because the body produces it when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be obtained from foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of vitamin in the body. Vitamin D has a number of health benefits that we are going to focus on in this article.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a major role in many bodily functions, which include helping nerve, muscle and immune function, aid in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and building and maintaining strong bones.

Types Of Vitamin D [1]

Vitamin D is a group of compounds which come in two forms:

  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is found in plant-based foods
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is found in animal-sourced foods

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

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1. Supports bone health

Vitamin D plays an important role in improving bone health because it increases the absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium [2]. These minerals are responsible for the growth and maintenance of healthy, strong bones, which is crucial for lowering the risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, rickets and osteomalacia. Adequate levels of vitamin D in the body will increase muscle strength, thereby preventing falls.

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2. Aids weight loss

Vitamin D is known to reduce body fat and speed up weight loss. Obese or overweight people have low levels of vitamin D in the blood. So, increase the consumption of vitamin D through foods to prevent the gaining of weight.

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3. Reduces diabetes risk

There is a direct association between vitamin d and diabetes risk. Vitamin D can help elevate insulin sensitivity and boost beta cell function-all of which can help manage diabetes. Healthy, non-diabetic adults should increase their vitamin D levels to prevent the risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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4. May decrease cancer risk

Studies show that there is an association between low levels of vitamin D and increased cancer risk. Sufficient levels of vitamin D decreases cancer cell growth and increases cell disparity. Low levels of vitamin D in the body increases the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer [1].

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5. Protects against heart disease

Vitamin D reduces the risk of heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure. Low levels of vitamin D in the body increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and coronary artery disease.

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6. Lowers depression

Low levels of vitamin D and risk of depression have been directly linked. Having foods-rich in vitamin D and vitamin D supplements can significantly improve depressive symptoms. So, include more vitamin D-rich foods into your diet to lower the risk of depression.

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7. Protects against respiratory infections

If you are deficient in vitamin D you have a higher risk of getting autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease.

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8. Decreases cognitive impairment

Vitamin D also plays an important role in cognitive function. Low levels of vitamin D is associated with cognitive decline, which in turn affects memory function, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and dementia.

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9. Decreases age-related macular degeneration risk

Increased vitamin D levels in the body have been associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that occurs when the macular, small portion of the retina wears down, resulting in blurred vision [1].

Sources Of Vitamin D

  • Mushrooms
  • Salmon, sardines and herring
  • Cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Milk
  • Orange juice
  • Oatmeal
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese

Recommended Daily Intake Of Vitamin A

  • Babies below 1 year of age require 8.5 to 10 mcg of vitamin D per day.
  • Children above 1 year of age and adults need 10 mcg of vitamin D per day.

What Happens If You Take Excess Vitamin D

Taking vitamin D beyond the recommended amounts causes many side effects such as hypercalcemia, irregular heartbeat, kidney damage, dehydration, brittle bones, and so on.

Read more about: health benefits vitamin d foods
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