We all know vitamin D is consumed through sun exposure, but did you know it is crucial for good health?
Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone, usually absorbed from exposure to the sun, along with certain foods. It has a host of health benefits because of its ability to influence genetic expression.
Vitamin D is thought to be involved in biochemical cellular machinery of all cells and tissues in our bodies, and if we don’t have enough of it our body can struggle to function properly. Here are 5 benefits of the ‘sunshine vitamin’:
- Dry Eye and Macular Degeneration
Premenopausal women who have a vitamin D deficiency are at a greater risk of dry eyes and impaired tear functioning. The good news is consuming more of Vitamin D may be able to reverse this. A vitamin deficiency can also increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, but only if you are already genetically predisposed to it.
- Prevention of bowel disease
Researchers from New Zealand have recently highlighted the importance of Vitamin D in preventing gastrointestinal disease and certain cancers. Vitamin D is a key component in the regulation and inhibition of cell growth and communication.
- Calcium regulation
Vitamin D has been shown to be able to regulate calcium and maintain phosphorous levels in the blood, which is key to maintaining healthy bones. ‘The sunshine vitamin’ also helps absorb calcium in the intestines, and reclaims any calcium that might be excreted through the kidneys. For this reason, Vitamin D deficiencies in adults can manifest in the form of osteomalacia or osteoporosis.
- Risk of Diabetes
There is a link between blood concentrations of Vitamin D and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Insufficient levels of Vitamin D can have negative effects on your insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.
- Inflammatory Rheumatic Disease
A study involving more than 2,200 patients diagnosed with different types of arthritis showed that 40 per cent of those with rheumatoid arthritis were deficient in Vitamin D.
- Protection from Cardiovascular disease
The exact way Vitamin D lowers blood pressure, improves vascular compliance and improve glycemic control, is unknown. However, it has been shown that individuals with Vitamin D deficiencies are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, sudden cardiac death and even heart failure.
The best way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is to make sure you are getting enough sunshine. but you can also consume it within foods such as salmon, milk and egg yolks. There are also vitamin supplements available at your local chemist.
Will you try to increase your intake of Vitamin D? Do you spend much time in the sun?
* This is general advice only. If you are concerned about having aVitamin D deficiency, you should seek guidances from a medical professional. Always slip, slop, slap if you’re in the sunshine!