Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our bodies and it is therefore surprising that so many people know very little about it. In all fairness this might be the case because it is the only vitamin that is different from all the other essential vitamins, in that our bodies can create it only using sunlight exposure. The function of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in our bones and to aid cell-to-cell communication throughout the body.
Now usually we can get all the vitamin D we need from short exposure to sunlight and this means there is no need to consume supplements. However, adults with darker skin, those who frequently use SPF and the elderly can be more prone to being vitamin D deficient. In fact there has even been recent research that links the lack of vitamin D to the risk of dementia in elderly people as their skin is less able to convert sunlight into the vitamin and they may not be taking supplements.
How Is It Obtained
Usually vitamin D is absorbed from sun exposure, food and supplements. Biologically inert, vitamin D must undergo two-hydroxylation reaction to become active in the body but once it does it has numerous benefits.
What It Does
Vitamin D is essential for the formation, growth, and repair of bones as well as for normal calcium absorption and immune function. This just scratches the surface of what it does too, here are some of the other benefits:
– It helps to regulate the immune system.
– We mentioned it is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous, which have all sorts of benefits but most importantly they help to maintain healthy bones, which is important throughout our lives.
– Vitamin D is seen as an important way to protect you from disorders like the common cold and therefore should be an important vitamin for everyone.
– It is thought to reduce the risk of people developing multiple sclerosis. Research that has helped to prove this is that the disorder is much less common the nearer you get to the tropics, which is where there is the most sunlight.
– The vitamin is thought to play a key role in helping the brain keep working in later life. This can also be linked to the earlier mentioned research that believes a lack of vitamin D can be an influential factor in the onset of dementia.
– If you want to maintain a healthy body weight then vitamin D is said to play an important role in doing so according to research from the Medical College of Georgia, USA.
– For those who suffer from asthma symptoms, vitamin D is believed to reduce the severity and frequency of these symptoms and even the likelihood of being hospitalised because of asthma too.