While clinical global data is not prevalent as yet, Vitamin D deficiency is now widely considered to be a worldwide health problem. Studies are increasingly showing an alarming reduction of Vitamin D levels amongst both children and adults, even in countries with higher levels of sun exposure.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ you’ll likely also see it specifically referred to as vitamin D1, D2, or D3. Our bodies produce Vitamin D naturally when ultraviolet B (UVB) rays make direct contact with our bare skin. The fat beneath the skin then absorbs the produced vitamins, though this isn’t the only way to get Vitamin D. Small amounts can also be found in some fish and grains as well as dairy products including milk.
There are many common misconceptions regarding Vitamin D. The most common is that countries with more year-round sun don’t have deficiency issues. This is far from the case – Vitamin D deficiency is a global problem. As a society, we are spending increasing amounts of time indoors which limits our natural exposure, particularly as we become increasingly technology dependant.
Additionally, even in places where there is a variable climate such as here in the UK, when we do enjoy bursts of summer sunshine, the application of sun creams and UV blockers prevents the skin’s ability to absorb sunlight and produce Vitamin D.
If you have a darker skin tone, you’ll also absorb less sunlight naturally than those with paler skin. This means a year-round reduction in the ability to effectively produce healthy vitamin levels.
Vitamin D is a medically an approved and prescribed treatment for some diseases and health concerns but there is no need to wait until symptoms present. Highly effective Vitamin D supplements are widely available with high quality products becoming increasingly affordable.
Settling for a deficiency should no longer be the norm. Here are some of the major benefits of maintaining healthy Vitamin D levels in both children and adults:
Vitamin D plays a direct part in our body’s ability to use calcium and phosphorus. In turn, this produces strong, healthy bones and teeth. This is the reason why Vitamin D levels in growing children are becoming more closely monitored and directly linked to conditions including bone softness or deformation (Osteomalacia) or fragile bones in adults (Osteomalacia).
As literally the foundation of the human body, there is little that compares to the importance of all round bone health. What’s more, many adults with active lifestyles will risk injury and joint pain as they continue to age. With improved bone health and reduced fragility comes a much-reduced risk of these issues.
Immune Function and Disease Prevention
While bone health is one of the more prominent impacts of having healthy Vitamin D levels, it is also a vital element in maintaining a healthy, functioning immune system. This also plays a part in the life cycle of human cell production.
Vitamin D has been recommended in the treatment of heart disease, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, flu and even cancer. There are also a number of studies which show Vitamin D to be effective in aiding the body’s neuromuscular efficiency. It has also been heavily suggested that Vitamin D has been helpful in the treatment of Autism and even Multiple Sclerosis.
It’s all too common for us to look to extreme measures including yo-yo dieting, crash diets and stimulant based ‘fat burning’ products and fads when it comes to weight loss. So often there are far less extreme measures that can be taken to ensure weight loss is achieved more naturally and with fewer additional implications.
Many trials have been conducted on the role of Vitamin D and its ability to aid weight loss. It has been strongly suggested in these studies that a high level of Vitamin D in the blood can help with the use of fat cells and a reduction in fat cell storage.
On top of this, Vitamin D also plays a role in the production of serotonin which can impact appetite, particularly in women. Serotonin also regulates other bodily functions and plays a role in the regulation of sleep which in turn will contribute to increased weight loss.
In men, higher Vitamin D levels have also been shown to promote a healthier, increased production of testosterone in the body, again aiding the ability to metabolise fat stores and potentially, even grow additional lean muscle tissue.