The benefits of vitamin D play a key role in nearly all the body’s major systems from the immune system to skeletal health to helping to prevent cancer.
Sure, getting enough vitamins is important, but few vitamins are as vital to the human body as vitamin D. The benefits of vitamin D is actually so critical to life that the human body actually produces it by itself as a response to skin exposure to sunlight.
The human body produces vitamin D as a response to exposure to sunlight; UV radiation, in particular. As our civilization progressed, people started spending more and more time indoors and away from the sun, or wearing sun block to protect first against sunburn and later against skin cancer, and spending less time in the sun.
This has lead to decreased production of vitamin D, which in some cases, can lead to some pretty nasty consequences.
When people do not get enough vitamin D, the side effects often start with the mind and move on to the skeletal structure.
The first sign of a vitamin d deficiency is often depression, which is especially visible during the winter, when the sun’s rays are not hitting most latitudes strongly enough to let people produce vitamin D. This is where seasonal affective disorder or SAD comes in.
Another major result of not getting enough D is bone problems. Vitamin D is essential to the body’s absorption of calcium- the mineral your bones and teeth are made of.
Without vitamin D, the body cannot convert calcium into a usable form, so it might as well not be there at all. This is why people develop conditions like rickets or osteoporosis when they do not get enough vitamin D.
Up until fairly recently, everyone knew the connections between sunlight, vitamin D and calcium absorption in the body, but that was about it. Now, studies are showing strong connections to other systems in the body as well, especially that of the immune system.
The benefits of vitamin D are staggering- not only can getting enough of it boost the ability of your immune system to fight off harmful invaders, but there is strong evidence that it can even help to prevent and perhaps even fight cancer.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-carcinogen and in clinical studies people who got 1000 IU (international units) or more a day over a long period of time routinely had significantly lower rates of cancer development.
The benefits of vitamin D are enormous when you get just enough of it. Fortunately, even while we are spending far less time out in the sun making it for ourselves than our ancestors did, we have figured out how to add it in to our dietary intake by fortifying basic foods like orange juice, milk and flour with it.
Getting enough vitamin D can be very important for healthy bones and bone development in children- as important or more so than getting enough calcium. It also supports a strong immune system, and good mental health.
Just like lying out in the sun can make you feel good, so can getting enough vitamin D, in fact the two are likely one and the same.
Remember, the best way to enjoy the
benefits of vitamin D is to make it yourself through sunlight, but if you are worried about skin cancer or just cannot get enough sunlight where you live, it is still important to take supplements and get at least 500-1000 IU daily.
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