Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because unlike other vitamins, our bodies have the unique ability to make vitamin D from direct sunlight. This fat-soluble vitamin is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. It is essential to the building and maintenance of healthy bones as it helps the body absorb and retain minerals: calcium and phosphorus; but more research is being conducted into finding other possible functions and benefits beyond bone health. We already know that vitamin D regulates many other cellular functions in your body; and the fact that body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D suggests that it plays many other important roles in the human body.
New research on vitamin D shows promising results about its cognitive and neurological benefits. For example, one study has shown that vitamin D might be an important factor in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of anxiety and depression. At the University of Queensland, Neuroscientists used new technology to demonstrate how vitamin D deficiency affects developing neurons in schizophrenia and yet another recent study suggests that higher doses of Vitamin D3 supplementation during early childhood may reduce the risk of internalizing psychiatric symptoms later on in life.
7 Potential Benefits of Vitamin D:
- May reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system
- May prevent certain types of cancer and reduce cancer cell growth
- May reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure
- May prevent and treat autoimmune diseases, including diabetes mellitus
- May reduce cognitive impairment and risk of neurodegenerative diseases
- May help treat skin conditions like dryness, acne, psoriasis, and eczema
- May regulate mood and decrease risk of depression and anxiety
Are you vitamin D deficient?
Vitamin D deficiency is a common vitamin deficiency that causes complications with muscles and bones. It most commonly affects people over the age of 65 and people who have darker skin. It is also more prevalent in winter months, when people do not get enough direct sunlight. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, body aches and pains, muscle weakness, poor immunity and even depression and feeling of sadness.
Health Canada recommends that adults 19 years men and women consume between 400 IU (10 µg) to 1000 IU (25 µg) of vitamin D daily. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), which is the maximum daily intake that will not cause any harmful health, for adults and children ages 9 an up is 4,000 IU (100 mcg). If you’re not sure, if you’re getting sufficient vitamin D in your daily routine talk to your health care practitioner and consider adding a quality vitamin D supplement to your diet.