All the Benefits Vitamin D Has for Your Body

Three common issues caused by a lack of vitamin D

Vitamins are very healthy for your body, and Vitamin D is one of them (1). The reason why we should be aware of its benefits is because many people don’t have enough vitamin D. For example, in America, one third of the people don’t have sufficient vitamin D (2), according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, 8% of them are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is needed for enhancing calcium absorption. If a person lacks vitamin D, the bones might become soft. This disease is known as osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency can lead to many different diseases.

Here are some diseases resulting from Vitamin D Deficiency:

Type 2 diabetes

There is growing evidence that vitamin D deficiency could be a contributing factor in the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (2).  That is because vitamin D has an important role when it comes to pancreatic cells that secrete insulin. Without this vitamin, your body will find it hard to regulate glucose levels. If you have an elevated A1C level, discuss with your healthcare provide if you should be evaluated for vitamin D insufficiency. It can also be related to high blood pressure.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the second in women, being the second most deadly cancer worldwide (4). Vitamin D is also used to regulate genes used for control growth, as well as survival of cells and differentiation. Without vitamin D, these processes won’t function and this can lead to cancer. Research has found that both dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk of CRC, which suggests a significant influence of vitamin D on the prevention of CRC.

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Vitamin D for Osteoporosis

It is common knowledge that calcium is probably the nutrient you think of first when it comes to bone health. But vitamin D is just as important for keeping bones strong and preventing the bone disease osteoporosis. Vitamin D is one of the key hormones in the regulation of bone metabolism, the major role of which is to provide the proper micro-environment for bone mineralization (5). Vitamin D supplementation may increase bone mineral density in several regions of the skeleton, especially in people who are vitamin D deficient. The increase of bone mineral density may be explained by mineralization of excess osteoid in cases with more severe vitamin D deficiency.

Low vitamin D levels

Your body can lack vitamin D because of a number of reasons. For example, during winter, there are fewer hours of daylight. Your body needs sun in order to produce vitamin D. While sunscreen can protect you against the negative effects of UVB, it can also limit the production of vitamin D.

Additionally, people who are obese or overweight also have low vitamin D levels. It is harder to explain this one, because, according to scientists, this is not linked with their diet or physical activity levels. It is believed that this might be because vitamin D gets stored in the extra fat which means that the rest of the body does not get enough of it.

Do you need vitamin D?

While vitamin D has numerous benefits, you should make sure that your body needs additional vitamin D. In order to find out about your needs, a dna testing kit might be needed. A DNA test will show whether you truly need any supplements.

Genetics are important when it comes to your levels of vitamin D. The VDR gene can have many mutations that affect vitamin D. This gene encodes the vitamin D receptor. There are such receptors in the intestines and they are used to absorb calcium from the food you eat. It is also implicated in other roles such as cell proliferation.

(1) Vitamin D: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals

(2) Vitamin D Deficiency

(3) Vitamin D and Diabetes

(4) Vitamin D Intake and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer: An Updated Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of Case-Control and Prospective Cohort Studies

(5) Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis

by Dick Benson

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