GIMMY’s Guide: Embrace the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D
by Jacqueline Roshamn on Jun 02, 2023
Have you ever heard about the sunshine vitamin? It is better known as vitamin D. It is a vitamin that is absorbed by your exposure to sunlight or diet, consisting of both vitamin D2 and D3.
Just imagine the winter days in our cold countries, where sun hours are short. People like you and me need to make sure our vitamin D intake is enough. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of deficiency, difference between vitamin D2 and D3, how to get it and the 5 benefits of having sufficient vitamin D.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, is crucial for your health. It's fascinating how your body can actually produce it when you spend time in the sunlight. Additionally, you can find vitamin D in different food sources or in specific supplements.
One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. This is crucial for maintaining strong bones, healthy teeth, and maintain your muscle strength. It ensures that our bones stay healthy and reduces the risk of conditions like osteoporosis and rickets. Vitamin D also plays a part in other bodily processes. At last, it helps support your immune system.
What's the difference between vitamin D2 and D3?
As vitamin D is used as an umbrella term where both D2 and D3 are included, let’s find out the differences between the two. See the comparison in the table:
Vitamin D3 is also easier for the body to utilize and raises blood levels of vitamin D in an effective way. Therefore, vitamin D3 is more common than D2.
Benefits of vitamin D
Vitamin D is beneficial for different factors like healthy bones, immune system, mood, reducing risk of chronic diseases and improves mental wellbeing.
It makes for healthy bones
Nobody wants brittle or weak bones, right? Then you can rely on vitamin D for healthy and stronger bones. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, which is a vital mineral for bone formation and density. Without sufficient vitamin D, your bones could become weak and lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.
It supports your immune system
Adequate levels of vitamin D help regulate the function of immune cells, and provides an anti-inflammatory effect, enhancing our body's ability to fight off infections and reduce the risk of diseases. Did you know that vitamin D have been used to treat infection before antibiotics? Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of illnesses and disorders, from cancer and autoimmune disorders to cognitive disorders and Parkinson's disease.
Vitamin D could improve your mood
Did you know that you can brighten your mood with vitamin D? According to a study by Psychopharmacology, researchers indicate that vitamin D has a positive impact on mood regulation. If you maintain optimal vitamin D levels it can influence your mood, improve mental health, reduce the risk of depression, and improve overall well-being. Also, the study showed that people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons, reduced their symptoms by taking additional vitamin D3 supplements. So, whenever you’re feeling down, because it’s gray outside, again, remember there is a vitamin that could help you feel better.
It reduces the risk of chronic diseases
Nobody wants to experience chronic diseases. In Journal of Inflammation research, it was shown that vitamin D has a positive impact on the body and can reduce risk of chronic diseases. It turns out that if you take a sufficient level of vitamin D, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer (such as colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer), and autoimmune disorders. Just imagine, if you would get the daily dose of vitamin D, you could prevent your risk of getting sick. So, be aware and make it a priority, and you’ll feel healthier in no time.
Vitamin D improves mental wellbeing
Why do you need vitamin D for your mental wellbeing? In the journal by Food and Nutrition Sciences, the study found that a deficiency in vitamin D3 can increase the risk of anxiety, depression, and bad mental health. It showed that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms, meaning the vitamin could be vital for the brain. Serotonin, a vital neurotransmitter in your brain, plays a crucial role in regulating your emotions. However, it's important to be aware of the potential consequences of a vitamin deficiency. Insufficient levels can disrupt the delicate balance of your mental well-being and potentially contribute to the onset of depressive disorders.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency
Have you ever felt low in the winter season? Experience shows that low levels of vitamin D could cause:
- Bone pain or achiness
- Bad sleep
- Hair loss
- Feelings of sadness or general depression
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Prone to sickness
How do I get vitamin D?
You probably wonder how you can get enough vitamin D. The easiest way to increase your vitamin D level is to expose yourself to the sunlight or to eat high vitamin D level foods such as mushrooms, plant-based milk, fatty fish, or fish oil. On the other hand, let’s say that you can’t get enough of the vitamin D through the sunlight or daily food, then it might be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement. Just listen to your body, it’s an art you need to train, but your body will be grateful.
Do you want to learn more about vitamins? Check out our article: GIMMY's Guide: 5 Reasons Why You Need Additional Vitamins.