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Vitamin D3: Health Benefits, Sources and Intake

Vitamins are some of the most crucial nutrients. It is, in fact, classified as an essential nutrient. This is with reference to the concept that our bodies cannot produce these nutrients on their own. And even if they do, it isn’t sufficient enough to support the various bodily functions. As such, one needs to derive these nutrients from food sources and supplements. Vitamins are not just one of the most important essential nutrients, but they are also the most versatile.

There are so many different forms of vitamins that include vitamins A, B, C, D, E and the list goes on. Perhaps the most unique out of all these is vitamin D. This is due to the fact that vitamin D is actually produced in the body during exposure to the sun. In fact, it is produced from cholesterol. However, the vitamin D obtained from the exposure of the skin to the sun is not sufficient enough to address the requirement of the body. Therefore, one must obtain this macronutrient through foods and supplements. However, there aren’t many food sources that are rich in vitamin D. So, the deficiency of vitamin D is a very common occurrence throughout the world.

With this in mind, it becomes extremely important to include vitamin D into your diet either via food or supplements. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. As such, it can easily be absorbed into your body and can be stored. It is worth noting that vitamin D is available in two different forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). While vitamin D2 is abundant in plant based foods, vitamin D3 is animal based. However, it has been found by various studies that vitamin D3 is more potent than its D2 version in enhancing the vitamin D levels in the body. Therefore, it is vitamin D3 that is recognised as the essential macronutrient that your body needs to fulfil many crucial bodily functions.

This article will offer a detailed analysis of the various health benefits that one can obtain out of vitamin D, and more particularly, vitamin D3. This powerful essential nutrient has been studied extensively and many scientific findings have come out of research. We shall cover all the relevant health benefits and the sources of vitamin D3 and see why it is so important for your body. In addition, we shall also state the recommended dosage of vitamin D by the body and the synthesis of this vitamin from sunshine.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D3

Better bone density functions

Studies have shown that the intake of vitamin D3 is linked to better health of the musculoskeletal system as you are less likely to experience fractures, osteoporosis, weak bones and pains.

Enhanced core strength

It has been shown by research that vitamin D3 aids in the increase of core strength in both the upper and lower parts of the body. In fact, athletes taking vitamin D supplements have reported better physical performance in their day to day activities.

Uplifts mood

Various studies have indicated that vitamin D3 can help one to manage stress levels, anxiety, mood swings and the symptoms of depression. The phrase “go get some sunshine if you are feeling low” and the association of a sunny day with good mood have originated due to this property of vitamin D.

Anti-cancer characteristics

Vitamin D3 has been found to have potential benefits in combating cancer. It inhibits the abnormal growth of cancerous cells and as such, may potentially fight against cancer.

Controls blood sugar levels

It has been established that the consumption of vitamin D3 leads to a good control over the blood sugar levels and thus, better management of type 1 diabetes.

Helps you live longer

Various experimental studies have demonstrated that people who have a high intake of vitamin D tend to live longer and healthier. As such, the consumption of vitamin D is linked to higher mortality rates.

Derivation of Vitamin D from sunshine

As mentioned, vitamin D is produced from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunshine, that is, the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This has been confirmed by extensive research.

For people living in a place where there is an abundance of sunlight throughout the year, they can potentially derive all the vitamin D they need just by exposing themselves to the sun. However, it should be noted that this is feasible enough only if the people exposure a substantial surface area of their bodies for prolonged periods of time.

There is a rather interesting part about exposure of the skin to the sun’s rays. While the application of sunscreen goes on to eradicate the absorption of vitamin D by the skin to a large extent (sometimes completely), it is also strongly advised to actually apply sunscreen on the skin as prolonged exposure of the skin is linked to skin cancer.

The good news is that you can wisely apply sunscreen around half an hour after stepping out into the sun. Once you start feeling the sunburn, apply the sunscreen immediately. After months of exposure to the sun in this way, your skin would gradually need just a meagre amount of sunshine in order to maintain the required levels of vitamin D by the body.

However, for people living in places without enough sunshine and in winters, one should absolutely get themselves food rich in vitamin D and vitamin D3 supplements.

Sources of Vitamin D

Some of the best food sources include cod liver oil (the best source of vitamin D), fatty fish, organ meat and egg yolk.

Conclusion

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, has always been associated with the sun. For people living in places that get enough sunshine, vitamin D deficiency is never going to occur. With exposure of the skin to adequate sunshine for a long period of time (months or years), those sunny people have it easy for them.

For people living in places without enough sunshine, vitamin deficiency becomes an issue. It doesn’t help that foods rich in vitamin D aren’t too common. However, taking up vitamin D foods, particularly cod liver oil. Otherwise, one must consider taking health supplements having a high concentration of vitamin D3.

So enjoy the sun, apply sunscreen, eat well and obtain the impressive set of health benefits associated with a high amount of vitamin D in the body.

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Jamie Sherad

I’have established myself as a known face in the Science and Medical writer community, with a background in extensive research done to understand cases of malnutrition in Parkinson's patients. I have a strong academic background and are always up for challenges that demand me to expand the pre-existing knowledge.
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