The Benefits of Getting Enough Vitamin D3
Why the sunshine vitamin is important!
Vitamin D3 supplements are commonly recommended for people at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D levels cause depression, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Over time, vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak bones, rickets in children, and osteoporosis in adults.
Nicknamed the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body when ultraviolet B sun rays come in contact with special receptors in the skin. However, wearing sunscreen hinders this process, leading to mild to severe vitamin D deficiency in roughly one in four Americans.
This article discusses vitamin D supplements, explores the different forms of D vitamins available, and explains why vitamin D3 supplements are superior to D2. It also details the many benefits of vitamin D3 and other ways to get more vitamin D in your diet, along with the effects of Vitamin D3 and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
How Vitamin D Supplements Work
Vitamin D helps control how much calcium and phosphate you absorb from food. Calcium is essential for bone health. Phosphate is needed for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and basic bodily functions.
Vitamin D supplements come in two forms:
You can meet your vitamin D needs with either form. But healthcare providers generally suggest vitamin D3 supplements. That's because it:
Vitamin D3 supplements are sold as capsules, soft gel tablets, gummies, and liquid drops.
What are the benefits of taking vitamin D?
There is some evidence that vitamin D may have a number of health benefits, including:
Vitamin D3 aids in the management and absorption of calcium, as well as being essential to your bones (and teeth).
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body. The majority of this element is found in our bones and teeth. Calcium consumption should be sufficient to maintain your bones and teeth healthy. Inadequate calcium intake can result in joint pain with early-onset osteoarthritis and tooth loss.
Strengthens the Immune System
Vitamin D's most important functions include supporting the immune system and improving its function. It stimulates T-cell production and aids in the proper response to viral infections, such as the common cold, influenza, and other community-wide illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
Might Prevent Certain Types of Cancer
Vitamin D3 can assist decrease the chance of developing particular types of cancer. Epidemiological studies have shown that people who reside in southern/equatorial regions and are more exposed to the sun have a lower risk of some malignancies.
Vitamin D has been linked to cancer in numerous studies. Vitamin D aids in the repair and regeneration of cells, which might slow the growth of cancerous tumors, stimulate the death of cells that have been damaged by cancer, and decrease blood vessel formation in tumors.
Improve Brain Function
Vitamin D has been linked to a variety of bodily processes, including the brain's function. Vitamin D receptors may be found in all parts of the brain and spinal cord. Vitamin D helps you by promoting nerve growth and repair as well as stimulating and inhibiting neurotransmitter synthesis.
Vitamin D, it is thought, benefits the brain by lowering inflammation and preserving neurons. Vitamin D has also been shown to protect neurons in animal studies, which may help to explain why it promotes alertness and quick reaction time.
Another study looked at the relationship between Vitamin D levels and performance on mental tests in a group of people. This research revealed that those with lower Vitamin D levels did worse than those with sufficient amounts, suggesting it improves attention.
Boosts Your Mood
The diminished sunlight exposure in the winter, as well as the darker months, is advantageous for Vitamin D. A number of studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D3, linked to insufficient sunshine exposure, are associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms.
SAD is a mood disorder characterized by sadness as the primary symptom. Vitamin D3 levels have been shown to decrease, which has been linked to lower levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that controls emotions. You may improve your mood by taking a Vitamin D3 supplement or increasing your sun exposure.
Aids in Weight Loss
Did you know that Vitamin D has other benefits? If you've been trying to reduce weight and haven't seen the desired results, consider upping your vitamin D3 intake through diet and sunlight.
Studies have shown that taking a Vitamin D3 supplement, eating more foods that are high in this vitamin, or simply exposing oneself to more sunshine - along with eating a healthy diet and exercising - can help one lose weight. Because Vitamin D3 can assist reduce body fat levels.
People who have insufficient Vitamin D are more likely to become overweight and develop obesity-related diseases, according to studies. However, remember that simply taking a pill, eating more Vitamin D-rich foods, and spending more time in the sun isn't enough; you'll also need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Lower the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.
The linings of the joints are mistaken by the immune system for foreign materials, resulting in inflammation and stiffness.
A lack of Vitamin D might lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis since it is required for the immune system's proper functioning. Raising your Vitamin D levels has the potential to alleviate the severity and incidence of this disease as well as other autoimmune disorders.
Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
If you have diabetes in your family or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you might want to consider taking more Vitamin D. Recent studies have shown a link between Vitamin D deficiency, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. You may be able to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by overcoming insulin resistance.
The cells in the pancreas that produce insulin have alpha-hydroxylase enzymes and VDRs, which are important in determining glucose tolerance and resistance to insulin.
Vitamin D deficiency can also reduce the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, which might cause insulin resistance and modify how the body responds to glucose. Given these findings, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to see if taking extra Vitamin D improves your overall health.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to high blood pressure in several long-term studies.
It was previously unknown whether Vitamin D insufficiency causes hypertension, but a large genotypic research with over 150,000 participants has revealed that low levels of Vitamin D can induce high blood pressure.
Those who had the most vitamin D in this research had lower blood pressure. It was revealed that an increase of 10% in Vitamin D levels resulted in a 10% reduction in high blood pressure. An increase in your Vitamin D levels may help if you have high blood pressure or wish to prevent it from developing.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, congestive heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, strokes, and heart attack. Vitamin D levels can be elevated to help reduce the chance of developing heart illness and its symptoms.
Furthermore, because it may aid in weight reduction and maintaining healthy body weight, this vitamin might also be able to minimize the negative effects of obesity and excessive body fat on heart disease. To discover more about Vitamin D advantages, consult with your doctor.
Vitamin D can fights inflammation
Vitamin D is beneficial to the immune system because it helps regulate the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that are used by the immune system to communicate with other cells, and when they are produced in the wrong amounts or at the wrong time, they can cause inflammation.
Vitamin D can also help reduce the risk of infections by promoting the production of white blood cells and increasing the efficiency of T-cells. A lack of Vitamin D has been linked to an increased susceptibility to infection, so maintaining healthy levels might help keep you from getting sick.
Vitamin D can help Strengthen Oral Health
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is essential for dental health. Vitamin D has been shown to be beneficial for oral health.
Reduces the Risk of Fractures
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for bone health. A lack of vitamin D can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures.
Supports Proper Lung Function
Vitamin D is essential for proper lung function. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for healthy lungs. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to a variety of respiratory problems, including asthma and COPD.
Supports a Healthy Nervous System
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy nervous system. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for healthy nerves. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to a variety of neurological problems, including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Encourages Healthy Hair Growth
Vitamin D is essential for healthy hair growth. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for healthy hair follicles. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to a variety of hair problems, including hair loss and alopecia.
Improves Cognitive Function and Prevents dementia
Vitamin D is essential for brain development, and a lack of it has been linked to cognitive problems and dementia. A 2017 study published in the journal Neurology found that people with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to experience a decline in cognitive function over a six-year period than those who had sufficient levels of the vitamin.
Should everyone be taking vitamin D3?
There are many benefits of vitamin D, and it's often called the "sunshine vitamin" because we can produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important for strong bones and teeth, and it helps our bodies absorb calcium.
It also supports our immune system and may help prevent certain chronic diseases such as cancer.
There are several ways to get vitamin D, including exposure to sunlight, certain foods, and supplements. Vitamin D deficiencies are relatively common, especially in the winter months when there is less sun exposure.
If you think you may be deficient in vitamin D, talk to your doctor about getting a blood test. You may also want to consider taking a supplement, especially if you don't get much sun exposure.
It may seem odd that sunlight can give you vitamin D. It doesn't do this directly. But it starts a chain reaction.
Getting a little sunlight every day can help you maintain your Vitamin D levels.
Some experts recommend 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure a few times a week to help with vitamin D levels.
Sources of vitamin D
People can often get the majority of their vitamin D intake from sunlight exposure. However, people at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, and many other people, cannot solely rely on sunlight exposure for vitamin D production. During the winter months, when the sun is not as strong, everyone can benefit from vitamin D supplements.
The following foods are a source of vitamin D:
fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
fortified cereals and juices
Vitamin D3 is generally safe. But it can have toxic effects if you take too much. Talk to your doctor before deciding how much of the vitamin you should take.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Vitamin D
Research finds a majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are also vitamin D deficient and deficiency may worsen RA symptom severity. The most common causes of vitamin D deficiency in rheumatoid arthritis patients are insufficient intake of vitamin D from food sources, limited exposure to sunlight, and having a disorder that limits the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D in the body.
Vitamin D benefits RA patients
Vitamin D deficiency has been strongly associated with disabling symptoms among those with rheumatoid arthritis. This is may be due to the fact that RA can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the foods we take in, and when vitamin D levels are low, RA symptoms and pain may worsen.
Taking in more vitamin D - through supplements and increased exposure to sunlight - can help to reduce inflammation, strengthen bone cartilage, and minimize pain and risk for disability. Vitamin D supplements can also help to alleviate other symptoms of arthritic conditions.
Deficiency in RA patients
A study out of the Albert Einstein University of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City, found that people who take corticosteroid medications are twice as likely to become vitamin D deficient, compared to those who don’t take them.
Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, prescribed to reduce inflammation in RA patients, can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. Other RA medications, such as Hydroxychloroquine and immunosuppressants are also linked to malabsorption of vitamin D. If you are taking these medications to treat RA symptoms and pain, it is important to have your levels checked regularly.
Symptoms and tests for vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency for patients with RA include worsening pain, depression, weak bones, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. It takes one simple blood test to get your levels tested. A 25-hydoxy vitamin D test can tell your doctor if your vitamin D level is deficient or if you are at risk due to lower levels.
Managing vitamin D levels
When vitamin D levels are normal, RA symptoms and pain and overall health are improved. The National Institutes of Health recommends a dietary allowance of 600 international units (IUs) per day of vitamin D. People who are deficient need more and may benefit from taking 1-2,000 IUs per day.
Patients who have been diagnosed with severe deficiency, or who have certain health conditions, may take a 50,000 IUs prescribed dose, over a longer period of time, i.e., twice a week. Too much vitamin D can cause toxicity, resulting in serious health issues.
According to the Vitamin D Council, patients are most likely to develop toxicity if they take more than 40,000 international units of vitamin D every day for more than three months. Talk to your doctor before taking any high doses of vitamin D.
The sun is your best source for vitamin D but you shouldn’t sit in the sun for longer than 30 minutes per day without adequate protection, such as sun creams and screens. You can also acquire vitamin D from the foods you eat. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, fish liver oils, vitamin D fortified milk and eggs are good vitamin D sources.
Vitamin D isn’t the only important nutrient when you have RA. Vitamin E deficiency is also relatively common among people with RA.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. Regular supplementation with vitamin E has multiple benefits for people with RA. They include:
better quality of life
reduced joint discomfort, swelling, and stiffness
a healthier gastrointestinal tract
It’s a good idea to include vitamin-E-rich foods in your diet, such as: