Vitamins + Supplements
What is Vitamin D and What Does it Do?
Vitamin D is one of the most versatile vitamins for improving your overall health. There are two forms of vitamin D: Vitamin D2, which is commonly found in foods, and Vitamin D3, which your body naturally creates through direct exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin that your body creates on its own. Technically, D3 doesn’t even officially count as a vitamin since the definition of vitamin is that of an organic chemical that must be obtained from dietary sources. Vitamin D is actually produced in the human body as a result of exposure to sunlight. While egg yolks and fish contain some vitamin D, the body must first transform it before it can be of any use.
Vitamin D3 has been shown to improve overall health and is commonly used to treat conditions such as:
- Underactive parathyroid glands
- Diminished blood phosphate levels
- Maintenance of pH levels in the blood
Natural absorption of vitamin D3 requires your skin to be in direct contact with sunlight. The widespread use of sunscreens, medical recommendations for limiting sun exposure, and increase in sun-related skin cancers, vitamin D3 deficiency is more prevalent than ever. As well, the darker your skin, the longer you need to be exposed to sunlight for your body to synthesize vitamin D3. Darker skin contains more melanin, which equates to greater protection against ultraviolet radiation exposure. Because of this protective effect, people of color must spend more time in the sun to make vitamin D compared to those with lighter skin tones.
Why is Vitamin D3 important/necessary?
While vitamin D3 plays a key role in bone health, and can help treat or regulate osteoporosis, under-active parathyroid glands, and blood phosphate and pH levels, its effects on your body may be more extensive.
Historically, vitamin D3 deficiency has been associated with rickets—a disease that primarily begins during childhood as a result of low levels of D3. Rickets is known to cause bow-shaped legs in the children—and even adults—it affects. Experts continue to study the effects of vitamin D3 on bone formation and health; stay tuned for more information on this topic as research continues.
Aside from bone health, vitamin D3 is key for people suffering gastrointestinal (GI) problems such as celiac, liver, or Crohn’s disease. Because these debilitating conditions often keep these patients indoors, they are more likely to suffer vitamin D3 deficiency. And although a lack of vitamin D3 has not been proven to cause these GI disorders, the key effects of D3 in everyday function continues to be explored.
What Vitamin D3 does for your Body?
As noted previously, vitamin D3 plays a key role in bone health. Ongoing research shows that D3 may significantly your reduce risk for bone fractures. Furthermore, vitamin D3 can protect your body from conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Insulin resistance
- Preeclampsia (in pregnant females)
- Impaired immunity
- Macular degeneration