Vitamin D: Health Benefits, Sources and Deficiency

Vitamin D is also known as {calciferol}. It is crucial to the body’s capacity to control calcium and phosphorus levels. In addition to this, it contributes to the development of robust and healthy bones. You won’t find this D vitamin in many meals, but you can get it from fortified milk, fish, and other supplements.

Some foods naturally contain vitamin D, though it can be added to others or taken as a supplement. It is also made when ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin and start the process of making the vitamin.

Sources

Vitamin D is only in some foods. Calciferol can be as D2 or D3 in food and supplements.

A. Vitamin D2 source

1. Fish

Vitamin D2 is present in most healthy fish. Sockeye salmon, which live in the Pacific Ocean, has the most of it. Other fish that are good sources of calciferol is:

  • mackerel
  • tuna
  • cod
  • shrimp
  • salmon

2. Oil from cod liver

Cod liver oil is available in the livers of cod and other similar fish. It has a lot of vitamin E and vitamin A and is a great source. 

3. Added to Milk

Almost all pasteurized milk has Vitamin D2 added to it. However, most other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, don’t have Vitamin D2. 

4. Eggs

Whole eggs have a lot of vitamins, like Vitamin D2, in them. However, even though egg whites are often used in place of whole eggs, they are not a good source of Vitamin D2 because it dissolves in fat and is only in the yolk.

5. Orange Juice

Vitamin-fortified orange juice can be a good way for children who are picky eaters to get Vitamin D2. Most kids like to drink juice, and orange juice is one of their favorites. Read the label to find out what vitamins are in the food.

6. Cereal

Most of the big cereal companies add vitamins, like Vitamin D2. Check out cereals with whole grains and less than 5g of sugar per serving. Even though high-sugar cereals with lots of frosting and marshmallows may have vitamins, that doesn’t make them a good choice.

B. Vitamin D3 sources

When people are out in the sun, their body makes vitamin D3. The body releases vitamin D from its stores and sends it through the bloodstream if exposed to UV rays. More UV light means that your body makes more vitamin D3. But you must be careful because too much sun can cause skin cancer. Vitamin D3 is present in some foods, like milk and some orange juices. Sources are ;

  • Sunlight made mushrooms grow
  • Herring
  • Fresh fish
  • Mackerel and halibut
  • Cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Sardines
  • Beer liver

 

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1. Bone Health:

High-dose vitamin D may prevent fractures in older adults. A systematic review examined the effect of calciferol supplements with or without calcium on hip fractures in older men and postmenopausal women 65+. Vitamin D with calcium showed some fracture protection. In addition, 800–5,000 international units per day of calciferol improve bone health. Low vitamin D can cause bone softening or rickets.

Deficits increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Vitamin D improves musculoskeletal health by reducing fractures and falls in older adults.

2. Supporting immune health:

Getting enough vitamin D may help the immune system work well and lower the risk of autoimmune diseases. There are calciferol receptors on our immune cells, and studies have shown that vitamin D helps the immune system in many ways. Researchers think not getting enough calciferol for a long time could lead to autoimmune diseases like diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Vitamin D may regulate mood and reduce Facilitates hormones:

Vitamin D works in our bodies like a hormone and affects how our brains work. Deficient people seem more likely to have depression, seasonal affective disorder, severe mood changes during PMS, insomnia, and anxiety. Low levels of D3 can affect how the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands work, which can stop the production of testosterone and estrogen.

4. It might support weight loss:

When obese, people follow a weight loss diet plan and take vitamin D supplements. As a result, they lose more weight and fat mass than those who only follow the diet plan. In addition, calciferol appears to affect body mass index. However, no evidence taking supplements can aid in weight loss.

5. Helps Fight Heart Disease

Vitamin D is essential for keeping inflammation and blood pressure in the body at healthy levels. Taking calciferol supplements hasn’t been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, but researchers are still looking into whether they might decrease heart disease complications. People who don’t get enough vitamins are more likely to get heart failure, coronary artery disease, and atrial fibrillation.

Those with severe vitamin D deficiencies are more susceptible to coronary artery disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

6. Cancer prevention

Calciferol inhibits tumor growth and slows its spread. Higher vitamin D levels are linked to decreased colon, pancreatic, prostate, and other cancer rates in humans. Calciferol insufficiency is linked to breast, colon, colorectal, bladder, and prostate cancers. Improving vitamin D and calcium nutritional status improves postmenopausal women’s cancer risk, according to studies.

7. Manages blood sugar, prevents diabetes

Vitamin D deficiency may impair pancreatic beta-cell activity and cause insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes (T2DM). A 2015 study found that calciferol replacement improves type 2 diabetes incidence, control, and complications. Calciferol helps pancreas cells produce insulin. The majority of study participants didn’t have calciferol insufficiency. Two years after supplementation, vitamin D blood levels were 54.3 ng/mL versus 28.2 ng/L.

A 2.5-year follow-up showed no significant changes in the T2DM level. This is in line with the idea that those with adequate blood levels may not benefit from more vitamin D, but those with low blood levels may.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency happens when your body doesn’t have enough calciferol to run all the necessary processes.

How does our body make this vitamin?

Active vitamin D comes from sunlight, a specific type of cholesterol in our skin that transforms into the liver and kidneys. It is a highly complex process. 7-dehydrocholesterol is a type of cholesterol that is available in our skin. When UVB rays with wavelengths between 290 and 315nm hit 7-dehydrocholesterol, they change it into pre-vitamin. The kidneys add more hydroxyl groups to vitamin D3 to make calcitriol, the active vitamin form. 

What are the signs of not getting enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency starts with vague symptoms, so most people don’t know they have it until their doctor orders a blood test to check for it. However, signs show that calciferol affects your bones, mood, and immune system. 

Some of these symptoms are:

  • Back or bone ache
  • Tiredness 
  • Frequent infections (such as colds or flu)
  • Hair loss
  • Depression.
  • Muscle pain
  • Osteoporosis (bone density scans show bone loss)
  • Bad dental health
  • Long-lasting wounds
  • Memory loss
  • Cancer (colon)                             
  • Cardiovascular disese
  • Kidney disease
  • Asthma in children

Recommendation

800 IU is vitamin D’s daily value (DV) (20 mcg). According to the nutrition facts label on food packages, the amount of calciferol is given as a percentage of the DV. Therefore, it tells you how much vitamin D the food will provide you for the day. A study of pregnant women found that having enough calciferol may help reduce anxiety symptoms, improve sleep quality, and help prevent postpartum depression.

Conclusion

Even though UV light from the sun can help our bodies make vitamin D, that might not be the best way to meet your needs. The best way to ensure you get enough of the vitamin is to eat foods containing calciferol or take vitamin D supplements.

Where to Buy

You can find it at grocery stores, health food stores, and online.

DISCLAIMER OF MEDICINE

This information is not meant to provide medical advice or replace a personal physician’s advice or treatment. All readers of this information, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should check with their doctors before initiating any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program. In addition, the statements and goods on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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