With myriads of studies highlighting benefits of vitamin D, nor known to us earlier, the sunshine vitamin is a trending topic these days. However, a few recent studies have also questioned its purported usefulness in treating various illnesses. This Vitamin is synthesized in the skin when your skin is exposed to sunlight. This amazing vitamin is present in certain foods.
Sunlight is the primary source of sunshine vitamin, but during winters, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises boosting your this vitamin levels by consuming vitamin D-rich foods each day.These foods include oily fish, beef liver, fortified milk, egg yolks, fortified breakfast cereals and mushrooms.
What Does The Vitamin D Do?
Scientists already have revealed that vitamin D is necessary for maintaining great health and its deficiency is associated with problems that may cost your physical and mental health.
Primarily, vitamin D helps regulate the calcium levels in our body, strengthen our bones and prevent bone-related health conditions like osteoporosis.Several studies have also suggested that it may have protective health benefits against diabetes, cancer, heart failure, respiratory infections, hair loss, and autoimmune disease.
There are millions around the globe, who have insufficient levels of vitamin D in their body. According to a study, around 40% of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient.It is therefore even more important to determine future health implications of the same.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Joints, bone or muscle pain
- Breathing problems
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Vitamin D May Prevent Heart Failure
Several studies indicate that this vitamin may provide certain protective benefits against heart diseases, but the scientists are still not able to pinpoint, which mechanism is responsible for this association.
To explore this, the scientists looked at the body cells responsible for developing the scar tissue right after a heart attack. These are known as cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts (cCFU-Fs).
The researchers found that this vitamin prevented the action of cCFU-Fs and scar tissue buildup around the hearts of the model mice in the study; thereby potentially preventing these fatal blockages.
Vitamin D May Prevent Cancer
Bowel cancer and breast cancer and have associated with this important vitamin deficiency in several recent studies.
The researchers in one study found that high vitamin D levels were inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer. This was true for women, who were cancer-free at the baseline.It is hence safe to conclude that, higher your sunshine vitamin levels, lower is your risk of breast cancer.
Vitamin D And Its Association With Belly Fat
Another study re-examined the link between obesity and lower levels of this vitamin, focusing particularly on how different forms of body fat interact with this nutrient.
The authors revealed that having more belly fat was is associated with lower levels of Vitamin D.
However, it is not clear whether this vitamin deficiency causes fat storage around the belly, or having excess belly fat somehow results in its deficiency. The researchers hope to soon determine the cause and effect behind this association.
Vitamin D and Its Association With Alzheimer’s Disease
A systematic review attempted to conclude on the vitamin D’s ability to prevent Alzheimer’s. The study revealed that there is no considerable association between this vitamin deficiency and a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
However, there might be a relationship between exposure to sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV) and protection against multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin D and Its Association With Chronic Pain
Low levels of vitamin D may lead to or exacerbate chronic pain.
A group of scientists analyzed the evidence to uncover the actual relationship.
After the analysis, they were able to concluded that the scientific evidence available is not adequate to support this connection between chronic pain and this deficiency.
We believe that this article would considerably add to your knowledge and understanding of this vitamin. However, one should keep in mind that prolonged exposure to sunlight may result in skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer. So, make sure your sun exposure shouldn’t exceed 20-30 minutes thrice a week.