Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and encourages the absorption of calcium into the body as well as other minerals. It aids the body to create and build strong bones and is also associated with a number of natural bodily functions. For most adults, Vitamin D does not need to be supplemented as natural sunlight exposure and a normal diet will maintain the levels required within the body.
Deficiency of can occur, however, and certain groups are more susceptible than most. Some of those populations include children kept out of sunlight, pregnant women, older adults, people on certain medications and those who are overweight. Most of these groups of people will inhibit getting into the body the sufficient amounts needed in some manner. A deficiency can lead to rickets, arthritis, memory loss, immune system failing to cope with common illnesses and has also been linked to certain types of cancers.
Vitamin D can be found in a wide variety of food types and will typically be consumed in high enough amounts as part of a balanced diet. Examples foods high in the vitamin include cod liver oil, fish products, eggs, mushrooms, fortified cereals and most dairy products. As Vitamin D also occurs naturally within the skin from natural sunlight exposure, eating sources of it is not normally required. While occurring naturally, it is important to keep these levels up to ensure you receive the full benefits of the vitamin.
Certain cancers have been linked with Vitamin D deficiency, mainly colon cancer. However, although a link with deficiency has been studied there is little evidence to suggest that supplements have any impact on treatment or the effects of such cancers – the benefit appears to be entirely preventative. Similarly, certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease can be prevented as Vitamin D helps to keep the immune system strong by absorbing essential nutrients. As with most antioxidants, it can help with fending off free radicals.
One of the main benefits of Vitamin D is building strong and healthy bones. With calcium being essential for healthy bones, it is crucial that calcium can easily absorbed into the body. Vitamin D levels have been linked with preventing and treating conditions such as rickets, osteoporosis and arthritis. While keeping bones strong, it also helps to keep skeletal muscle in good shape as well, acting as a supporting structure to the skeleton.
During pregnancy, the child will absorb a lot of Vitamin D from the mother. So keeping these levels high is important for both the mother and the healthy development of the unborn child. The immune system is weaker in both when levels are low.
Finally, a major benefit of Vitamin D is in helping to fight common diseases such as colds and flu although the actual reasons behind it have not yet fully been understood.
In conclusion, Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the body and helps with a number of aspects of daily life and a number of bodily functions. Most adults do not need to consider their intake as it occurs naturally, however, risk groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and obese people should take some time to consider if their intake is sufficient or not.