Summer is just around the corner, which means it is the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun and top your body up with much needed vitamin D. Classically, vitamin D is associated with bone health, which is definitely one of the major functions of the vitamin in our body. However, more recent evidence has suggested that vitamin D also plays a role in the prevention of many common diseases such as cancer, obesity, and immune disorders.
Vitamin D is extremely important for children to improve calcium and phosphorus absorption and promote healthy bone formation. But it is equally important in adults to maintain these healthy bones and prevent common bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Aside from healthy bones, vitamin D has been shown to suppress inflammation within our bodies. This is why optimal vitamin D status is important to decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases.
Like bones, the heart also has receptors for vitamin D. It has been found that people with a vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to develop a heart condition, compared to those with healthy vitamin D levels. This is because vitamin D plays roles in controlling blood pressure as well as preventing artery damage.
Another important function of vitamin D that is not commonly discussed is its role in immunity. Multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, and even the common cold are all diseases that can have their risk reduced with vitamin D supplementation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on immunity are because the vitamin D receptor is found on almost all immune cells, meaning the active form of vitamin D can act directly on immune system cells and prevent autoimmune attacks. Vitamin D also works at a genetic level, by increasing the gene expression of immune improving substances within the body.
Next time you are paying a visit to your doctors make sure to get your vitamin D levels checked, as deficiency is much more common than you might think, and it can affect almost every aspect of your health! Also, if you find yourself dealing with extreme fatigue and a low or depressed mood, have your vitamin D levels checked. Learn all about sources and requirements of vitamin D here.