Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we cannot get ample amounts of it from food. Instead, our awesome bodies make it from the biggest star in the sky—the sun. Your body absorbs sunlight using cholesterol, which helps convert sunlight into a form of vitamin D that your body can use. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and is actually more like a hormone than a vitamin, regulating hundreds of different pathways in your body. Your vitamin D (along with your thyroid hormones) are the only two hormones every cell needs, making them the king and queen of all hormones.
Want to know exactly how important the sunshine vitamin is? Here is your definitive guide to all things vitamin D.
One of the reasons for the “winter blues” is decreasing amounts of sunshine during the colder months. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to a 14 per cent increase in depression and a 50 per cent increase in suicide rates! Now you can start to see just how important vitamin D is.
2. Asthma reducer
Studies show that higher vitamin D intake by pregnant moms reduces their baby’s risk of asthma by 40 per cent. And other research suggests that vitamin D has a protective effect against upper-respiratory infections.
3. Autoimmune balancer
Vitamin D is an integral part of balancing your immune system. It’s no surprise then that low levels of vitamin D are associated with autoimmune conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorders, and autoimmune thyroid problems (like Hashimoto’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis). Conversely, optimal levels are linked with improved symptoms.
4. Bone strengthener
Most people know this already, but it’s still worth mentioning. Vitamin D prevents the breakdown of bones and increases the strength of your skeletal system.
5. Brain Booster
Vitamin D is essential when it comes to a healthy noggin. Low levels of D are linked to decreased memory and increased rates of brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.
6. Cancer fighter
People who have optimal vitamin D levels have lower levels of breast, prostate, colon, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer. This vitamin also seems to be able to kill and prevent the growth of cancer cells by up to 50 per cent!
7. Fertility booster
Healthy vitamin D levels have been shown to be an integral part of making healthy sperm and increasing rates of a healthy pregnancy.
8. Heart Protector
Low D levels and decreased exposure to sunlight are associated with more occurrences of heart attacks and strokes.
9. Inflammation calmer
Inflammation is the common link between most chronic health problems, and vitamin D has the unique capability to squelch the inflammatory storm in myriad ways.
10. Metabolism energizer
In one study, supplementing with D for 12 weeks decreased body fat by 7 per cent. Low levels are also linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
11. Physical performance enhancer
Supplementing this important vitamin has been shown to boost muscle strength and physical performance. Vitamin D has also been shown to increase balance—decreasing falls by 20 per cent in some studies.
12. Sleep improver
Sleep is so important for feeling and looking your best. Healthy levels of D are associated with increased sleep quality.