Vitamin D is a chemical produced by the skin with the aid of sunlight. If you work in an environment where you are unable to spend enough time outdoors, you may need to take a supplement to ensure that you are receiving the proper amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to your health. It provides anti-cancer benefits, helps with brain development and improves immunity, cardiovascular function, respiratory function and muscle tone.
What Causes a Vitamin D Deficiency?
There are a number of reasons why people do not get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Normally, the body produces the necessary vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, many people work indoors or wear sunscreen. For those who live in the Northern states, getting enough sun exposure can be difficult in the winter. Finally, as you age, your skin cannot produce as much vitamin D. Taking a vitamin D supplement can ensure you are receiving the necessary amount of vitamin D you need to protect your health.
Vitamin D is used to improve the density of bone by helping the bone cells to uptake calcium and use it properly. When a vitamin D deficiency occurs, you are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis cause bones to become brittle and the body begins losing bone or making too little bone. This causes an increased risk of experiencing fractures. In addition to this, there are numerous other effects of a vitamin D deficiency.
Weakened Immune System
Vitamin D is used by the body to turn processes on and off, including immunity. Vitamin D strengthens T cells in the body. These are the immune cells that seek out and destroy microbes that invade the body and cause illnesses and infections.
According to the American Diabetes Association, a vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 80 percent. The researchers stated that vitamin D helps with insulin secretion and the conversion of glucose into energy. Low vitamin D levels can increase insulin resistance and impair the metabolism of glucose in the body.
A vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of a number of cardiovascular diseases, including congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease. Vitamin D helps to decrease inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of arterial calcification. Vitamin D suppresses renin which is a hormone that increases systolic blood pressure. By combining a vitamin D supplement and a calcium supplement systolic blood pressure readings can be decreased.
A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression. Depression often results from lower serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps elevate the mood. This all-important hormone increases when the body is exposed to sunlight or a vitamin D supplement is taken.
Multiple Sclerosis occurs when the immune system attacks the nerve cells’ protective coating. Multiple sclerosis can cause eye pain and blurry vision, numbness throughout the body, fatigue, balance and gait problems, vertigo, muscle pain, depression and trouble thinking clearly. Because vitamin D helps improve immunity, studies suggest that a vitamin D supplement may decrease the risk of developing multiple sclerosis and help ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D provides anti-tumor protection by regulating the genes that are involved with the spread of cancer cells. Studies have shown that vitamin D may help lower the risk of developing certain cancers, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. In fact, a vitamin D supplement can help reduce the size of a tumor by 25 percent within a week and increase the lymphocytes in the body. Vitamin D helps the body increase platelets and red blood cells and boosts the immune system, allowing the body to better fight off cancer and disease.
Approximately 25 percent of the American population has a vitamin D deficiency. If you work indoors, live in a northern climate or are dark skinned, you are at an increased risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. Spending time outdoors and taking a vitamin D supplement will help to correct this deficiency and protect against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.