A somewhat unique vitamin, vitamin D is different in that it is a nutrient that the body can manufacture. Nevertheless, vitamin D is just as important a nutrient as any other. Vitamin D functions in regulating absorption of other nutrients and can be used to support health in numerous ways.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that is found in several foods and that can also be produced by the body with appropriate sun exposure. The nutrient functions primarily in supporting the maintenance and development of strong bones, doing so by regulating the body’s absorption of calcium and other nutrients.
The nutrient also functions in the body in a variety of other ways. The muscles use vitamin D in neural communication, carrying messages between the brain and the body. The immune system also relies on vitamin D to combat bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body; however, it typically needs supplemented with food sources and nutritional supplements. Fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and milk are good sources of the vitamin. Individuals can also supplement vitamin D levels by exposing skin to sun outdoors; however, care must be taken to avoid risks of skin cancer.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important health component in a variety of ways. While it is often considered a “preventative” supplement, it is also important for treating a variety of conditions.
The nutrient can be used to treat and prevent such conditions as rickets, osteoporosis, bone pain, brittle bones, heart and blood vessel conditions, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, muscle weakness, and multiple sclerosis. The nutrient is also effective for treating arthritis, asthma and other lung conditions, bronchitis, symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, and tooth and gum disease. The nutrient also helps treat and prevent skin conditions, autoimmune disorders and cancer.
Vitamin D’s main function is to regulate the body’s utilization of calcium and phosphorus; however, even though it is a “supporting” nutrient, it is no less important to health. Vitamin D is vital to treating and preventing a wide range of health conditions.
Vitamin D Toxicity
As important as Vitamin D is to your health, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you take vitamin D supplements on a regular basis, you should have your blood tested to make sure your vitamin D levels are within the proper range. You can learn more about vitamin D toxicity on this page.
Do you use a vitamin D supplement? We would love to hear about how it has helped you!