Vitamin D is one of many vitamins your body needs to stay healthy. Consuming more Vitamin D during the winter makes gut microbes healthier; it also helps the body resist infection and inflammation year-round.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone. Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth.
In addition to its primary benefits, vitamin D may also play a role in reducing the risk of contracting other diseases.
What diseases can Vitamin D fight?
- Vitamin D reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). Low vitamin D levels are linked with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis.
- It decreases the chance of heart disease. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of heart diseases such as hypertension, heart failure, and stroke.
- It reduces the likelihood of severe illnesses. Vitamin D may make severe flu and COVID-19 infections less likely. Low vitamin D levels contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- It supports immune health. People who do not have adequate vitamin D levels might be at increased risk of infections and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Vitamin D is essential in winter; getting outdoors is the best way to increase vitamin D levels; however, there are other ways.
How to boost Vitamin D levels?
Taking a Vitamin D supplement can boost the levels; also, a few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, such as:
- The flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils.
- Egg yolk
- Cod liver oil
- Tuna fish
- Orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
- Dairy and plant milk fortified with vitamin D.
- Beef liver
- Fortified cereals
The lack of Vitamin D is called Vitamin D deficiency; it may occur from a shortage in the diet, poor absorption, or a metabolic need for higher amounts. A deficiency may arise if one is not eating enough vitamin D and does not receive enough ultraviolet sun exposure over an extended period. People with lactose intolerance or who follow a vegan diet are at higher risk for a deficiency.
Who is at high risk of vitamin D deficiency?
- People with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) or other conditions that disrupt the normal digestion of fat. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that depends on the gut’s ability to absorb dietary fat.
- People who are obese tend to have lower blood vitamin D levels. Vitamin D accumulates in excess fat tissues but is not readily available for use by the body when needed. Higher doses of vitamin D supplementation may be necessary to achieve a desirable blood level. Conversely, blood levels of vitamin D rise when obese people lose weight.
- People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery typically remove the upper part of the small intestine, where vitamin D is absorbed.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
- Tiredness, aches, and pains
- Severe bone or muscle pain or weakness
- Stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
When to consult a doctor?
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin your body needs to be healthy. If you have risk factors for developing vitamin D deficiency or are experiencing symptoms, consult an Intercare doctor to get a blood test to check your levels.