Benefits Of Vitamin D

Published 5/16/13

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is the general term for a group of fat-soluble secosteroids (a molecule similar to a steroid but featuring a broken ring of carbon atoms) that are responsible for the intestinal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphate. The two most vital types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D3 (ergocalciferol).  Vitamin D can be consumed via diet, supplements, or by being exposed to the sun. The human body can produce vitamin D naturally if it is exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight, which is why vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin.”

Vitamin D Health Benefits

The main benefit that vitamin D has to offer is its ability to aid the intestines in absorbing and metabolizing nutrients, specifically calcium and phosphorus. This helps ensure strong bones, teeth, and immune system. The increased absorption of calcium also helps maintain a healthy calcium balance, which can prevent diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Vitamin D also aids overall health, as it is known to regulate blood pressure, relieve body aches and pains, improve cardiovascular health by protecting blood paths, and reduce tension associated with daily stress.

Vitamin D Deficiency

A deficiency of vitamin D can cause osteomalacia, a softening of the bones as a result of defective bone mineralization. Osteomalacia is also known as rickets when it occurs in children. Symptoms of osteomalacia include body pains, muscle weakness, and frequent bone fractures and breaks due to fragile bones. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases resulting in death, chronic asthma, cancer, and cognitive impairment in the elderly.

Vitamin D Foods

Excellent sources of vitamin D include fish, oysters, salami, ham, cod liver oil, milk, mushrooms, and eggs.

Vitamin D Side Effects

Overall, vitamin D is very health when consumed orally in recommended doses. The side effects of vitamin D stem from the increased calcium levels that vitamin D produces. These side effects include possible hardening of the blood arteries, high levels of calcium in the blood, and kidney stones. 

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