Vitamin D: One nutrient, Many Health Benefits
Do you always feel dizzy, get sick often or lack immunity? You may probably be having Vitamin D deficiency.
Though a lot has been said about the importance of this Vitamin, especially in relation to bone health but there’s more to it. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that carries out many critical functions of the human body.
The main source of Vitamin D is sunlight and therefore, it is also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. 7-dehydrocholesterol is a compound that converts UVB rays into Vitamin D when they reach your skin.
But it’s advised not to spend too much time in direct sunlight- especially without adequate sun protection as it may lead to serious health problems, like skin cancer and early ageing. Other sources of Vitamin D are supplements and several foods like dairy products, cereals, egg yolk, tofu and orange juice.
The famous acupuncturist, Dr. Jewel Gamadia lists some health benefits of Vitamin D, which are as follows:-
1. Promotes calcium absorption:
The body needs Vitamin D to trigger calcium absorption from the intestine and kidneys. If this Vitamin is not enough, calcium won’t be absorbed from the diet. As a result, the body will start taking calcium from its stores in the skeleton, leading to the weakening of bones.
2. Improves cardiovascular health:
Vitamin D has a restorative effect on the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of heart attack and repairing the damage done by hypertension, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. It is also important for smooth muscle function (vascular pathways).
3. Balances the immune:
As per Dr. Gamadia, sometimes during a bout of infection, your body lands up in the stage of auto-immune. It is a condition in which your body starts killing its own cells as the immune system gets overly or hyperactive and this is not good for your health at all. In such a situation, Vitamin D helps your body balance all the levels of immunity.
4. Increases WBC count:
Vitamin D helps to increase WBC or white blood cell count by decreasing the rate at which they are destroyed and removed from the body. As white blood cells are the fighters of your immune system, thus in a way, Vitamin D helps to improve immunity.
5. Controls diabetes:
Vitamin D helps in maintaining the adequate function of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas and also improves insulin sensitivity. Diabetes type-2 is more likely to develop if it is deficient.
6. May prevent cancer:
As per studies, cancers of the colon and breast have been associated with low Vitamin D. This vitamin is found to have a role in the precipitation of autoimmune diseases like MS (multiple sclerosis).
If you only stay indoors, it leads to a reduction in the stores of Vitamin D and when the levels turn low, the chances of developing infections, especially respiratory ones become higher. To avoid this situation, Dr Gamadia recommends supplementing yourself with Vitamin D. If you are taking it daily, have around 400 -1000 iu of Vitamin supplement. And do take it in the morning, to make sure that your Vitamin D levels are adoptable. Dr Gamadia further suggests consulting your health practitioner before taking the supplement as overdose may lead to toxicity.
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