Vitamin D is probably one of the most underrated vitamins out there – nevermind the fact that it’s actually a hormone! (More on that later…)
From strengthening your bones and fighting off infection to improving your mood and preventing heart disease, vitamin D is an amazing multitasker!
Want to know more? Read on to find out the top reasons you need to incorporate this health-boosting powerhouse into your diet and supplement routine…
1. Strong bones and teeth
Did you know that all the calcium in the world won't help you build strong bones if you don't have the vitamin D you need to absorb it? That’s right!
It turns out that vitamin D plays a key role in promoting calcium absorption.1 By binding to a protein called “vitamin D receptor,” vitamin D activates a complex signaling process that leads to increased calcium absorption in your gut.2 The big takeaway: for healthy bones and teeth, vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand!
2. Healthy immune system
There’s a reason you get sick more in the wintertime! It’s not just because of the weather extremes – it’s because you’re much less likely to get regular exposure to sunlight, which means your body’s natural vitamin D stores are quickly depleted.
That matters because vitamin D is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system! The immune-boosting effects of vitamin D come from its ability to generate molecules known as antimicrobial peptides that defend against harmful invaders.3
In fact, vitamin D is so effective at killing pathogens that it was once used to treat certain types of infection before antibiotics existed!3
3. Sunnier moods
To understand how vitamin D can help with your mood and appetite, it helps to know vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin at all – it’s a hormone! And we all know how hormone imbalances can wreak havoc with the way you think, feel, and eat.
If your vitamin D levels are low, research proves that you’re at a greater risk of depression and other mood issues.4,5 Never fear – increasing your vitamin D intake can help! Studies show that supplementing with vitamin D can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression so you can feel like yourself again.5,6
4. Easier weight loss
In the same way that vitamin D’s hormonal effects can help boost your mood, it can also help you feel less hungry.
Studies show that lower vitamin D levels are associated with weight gain, while healthy amounts of vitamin D can help boost weight loss by controlling your appetite. So if your New Year's resolutions or summer vacation plans include dropping a few pounds, you need vitamin D!
And scientific research backs up the weight loss benefits of vitamin D. In a recent study done on overweight adults with vitamin D deficiency, subjects who supplemented with vitamin D lost more weight than participants who didn’t take their daily D.7 Not only that, folks in the vitamin D treatment group trimmed inches from their waistline to boot!
5. Maintaining your heart health
Your heart loves vitamin D!
Numerous studies show that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension and heart failure. That’s no surprise, considering that Vitamin D protects your heart in many ways.
In addition to helping regulate blood pressure, vitamin D also helps reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.8 That’s crucial, since chronically elevated insulin levels and long-term inflammation wreak havoc on your heart health. Show your heart some love and get your daily dose of D!
6. Optimal muscle function
You already know vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, but it's just as important for your muscles. Research proves vitamin D plays a vital role in how well your muscles function.
How exactly does it help? When vitamin D binds to its receptors, it triggers the production of chemicals that provide energy for your muscles to contract.9 So the next time you’re doing a burst training workout, be sure to thank vitamin D!
The benefits of vitamin D are clear! But most of us don’t get enough of it.
Factors in Low Vitamin D Levels
Just 20-30 minutes of direct sun exposure on sunscreen-free skin is all it takes for your body to make sufficient vitamin D.
However, between gray winter days, air pollution, city living, and jobs that increasingly keep us indoors during the day, many people still struggle to get the sun exposure they need to make adequate vitamin D all year long.
What’s more, as we age, our bodies make less vitamin D. And other risk factors like medication use – especially those used for acid reflux – can also set you up for vitamin D deficiency.
So how do you get the vitamin D you need?
If you’re not getting your daily dose of sunshine, another way to get vitamin D is through your diet. However, very few foods actually contain vitamin D.11
Fatty fish like salmon is one of the richest sources, while small amounts of vitamin D can be found in beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
With limited dietary sources of vitamin D available, taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement can fill in the blanks. But it’s vital to remember to take vitamin K along with vitamin D! (Just consult your doctor if you’re on a blood thinner, as there can be some interaction.)
Wonder why? We already mentioned that vitamin D helps boost calcium absorption. But vitamin K is essential to directing calcium to the right places in your body.
It does this by activating a protein hormone that directs calcium to your bones, rather than to your arteries, which is the last place you want calcium to go!
Looking for an easy way to ensure both your vitamin D and vitamin K needs are covered? Try Vitamin D Plus!
It’s a superior-quality, trustworthy source of vitamins D and K that meet your nutrient needs. We test it at every stage of production to ensure it’s pure and all-natural, GMO-free, and effective. (That’s far beyond FDA standards for the industry, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!)
One note: If you don't know your vitamin D levels, it's important to get tested. You should aim for at least 40-50 ng/mL, though many experts agree up to 80 ng/mL may be a healthier goal for older women at risk for bone loss.
With the many incredible advantages of vitamin D, optimizing your vitamin D levels can make a huge impact on your overall health!
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