Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, is a key nutrient for our health that we mostly get through the sun.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and affects more than 2000 genes in the body and numerous body functions as well.
It improves the calcium and phosphorus absorption in the body, and is also important for the strength of our muscles and bones.
Here are some of the main health benefits of vitamin D:
Fights various ailments
According to studies, vitamin D can reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis and heart disease. Scientists have also been able to conclude that proper vitamin D levels can also reduce the risk of flu and colds.
Reduces the risk of depression
Vitamin D definitely plays a role in mood regulation and can even assist in the prevention of depression, some experts claim. One study showed that people who take vitamin D on a regular basis experience significant improvement in their symptoms, and depressed and anxious people have been found to be vitamin D deficient as well.
Promotes weight loss
One study found that a combination of vitamin D and calcium supplements can boost weight, as both nutrients have appetite-suppressing effects.
Vitamin D deficiency
The most common symptoms of lack of vitamin D are fatigue, muscle cramps, diarrhea or constipation, bladder problems, muscle and joint pain, headaches, loss of focus, sleeping problems and headaches. The vitamin is highly important for the health of our muscles and bones, so lack of it can lead to muscle and joint pain.
Vitamin D and sunlight exposure
As we synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, it’s best to avoid putting on sunscreen as it blocks the UVB rays which are involved in the production of vitamin D in our bodies.
These rays can penetrate through the cholesterol layer and help the body produce this important nutrient. On the other hand, UVA rays can penetrate through the sunscreen and have been associated with cancer and other skin problems.
And, although we can get vitamin D from the sun, it won’t go to the bloodstream immediately. Vitamin D is slowly absorbed in the body, which is why you should not take a shower after getting back home from the beach. This will wash away the oil from your skin that’s already in the process of vitamin D creation and stop the absorption right away.
The UVB rays are at their peak in the summer. Experts recommend no more than 8000-10000 IU per day. Furthermore, the vitamin D3 production also depends on your skin color – light-skinned people need 10-45 minutes, while dark-skinned people may need more than 2 hours.