What is Vitamin D Good For? The 7 Biggest Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins we have, but many people are deficient in it because they lack sunlight exposure, eat few foods that contain it, or don’t take supplements. Vitamin D has so many benefits that it’s hard to list them all here! Let’s look at the most significant health benefits of Vitamin D first and then see how you can get more of this essential vitamin into your diet and your body.

Benefits of vitamin D

There is a long list of benefits vitamin d produces in our bodies. In fact, it’s so vital to our health that it’s been called the sunshine vitamin. As we age, we generally get less of it naturally, which is why many experts recommend taking an oral supplement or getting tested to see if you need an IV infusion.

Benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Improves bone health – Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium, which strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis.
  • Increases immune function – Vitamin D has also been shown to aid in fighting illness and infections. People with higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to catch a cold or develop flu symptoms.
  • Enhances calcium absorption – People deficient in vitamin D tend to have weaker bones, are more likely to develop osteoporosis, and are more prone to bone fractures than people with adequate levels. Adequate vitamin D intake can help prevent these risks.
  • Supports kidney function – Your kidneys rely on vitamin D to get rid of nasty things like uric acid, phosphorus, and sodium. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, your kidneys might not be able to flush these substances from your body, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and even gout.
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease – By keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy, vitamin D reduces your risk of developing serious illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  • Helps prevent depression – Higher levels of vitamin d, especially from sunlight, have shown to be associated with lower rates of depression.
  • Speeds wound healing – One reason vitamin D can be so effective at accelerating wound healing is that it bolsters the production of a protein called collagen.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Before we dig into how you can get vitamin d, let’s take a look at some of the common symptoms of vitamin d deficiencies. A deficiency in vitamin d leads to an increased risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets. Other conditions that are associated with a lack of vitamin D include muscle weakness, fatigue, and poor immune function. In addition to these symptoms, there are other more serious illnesses that may be caused by a lack of sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body, including heart disease and cancer.

If you have any of these symptoms or other health concerns, it’s a good idea to speak with a medical professional about receiving a vitamin d test or ways to increase your vitamin d intake.

What conditions are directly related to Vitamin D

There are seven health conditions, diseases, and illnesses that may be affected by vitamin D levels:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
  • Depression
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Weight Loss

Vitamin D is important in preventing and treating osteoporosis because vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It helps strengthen your muscles and increase balance, which reduces fall risk that can result in fractured and broken bones.

In clinical studies, it has been shown that taking a daily vitamin D supplement decreases the risk of cancer death by 12-13%. Vitamin D supplements have been found to affect five types of cancer:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer

As for its effect on the heart, vitamin D regulates blood pressure, the growth of vascular cells, and inflammatory and fibrotic pathways. Deficient levels of vitamin D lead to vascular dysfunction, stiffening of your arteries, and problems in your left ventricle. Adequate and high levels of vitamin D support heart health and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

There have been mixed results in studies on the effect of vitamin D on depression. However, 14 observational studies showed that vitamin D deficiency and depression are linked.

Studies have shown that adequate levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk of getting multiple sclerosis (MS). It also might decrease the likelihood of relapsing and slow down the progression of MS in those who already have the disease.

Vitamin D metabolizes glucose, sets off insulin secretion, and reduces insulin resistance. All of these factors affect type 2 diabetes.

Observational studies have found that overweight and obese people are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D.

How to increase Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D in foods

Foods rich in vitamin D include some fish, such as salmon and tuna, beef liver, and eggs. Plant-based sources include fortified cereals, orange juice, and soy milk. If you’re not a fan of dairy or meat, consider some other methods to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D.

Sunlight

Most people already know that sunlight contains vitamin D. It’s what your body uses to produce it naturally. Many people fail to get enough sunlight during the winter months to meet their needs. You might need up to 15 minutes in direct sunlight a few times per week during midday hours to get your share of vitamin D.

Oral vitamins

Many multivitamins include vitamin D as a component. Because many tend to be deficient in it, vitamin D supplements can help your body make better use of other vitamins. Most doctors recommend that you get your daily dose from natural sources—specifically sunlight and foods like salmon and eggs; however, everyone has busy schedules or struggles to maintain certain diets, which is why oral vitamins are a popular source of vitamin d.

Vitamin D infusions

They are commonly used to treat vitamin deficiency. Many people are deficient in vitamin D but have no idea that they suffer from it because our bodies make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Many who do not get enough sunlight may find relief with a vitamin D infusion. With at-home infusions increasing in popularity, receiving a vitamin infusion has never been more convenient. The days of commuting to a clinic and waiting in a busy lobby are gone. At home, infusions are great because you can schedule a time that’s convenient for you. Once scheduled, all you need to do is find a comfortable spot to receive your treatment. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your house!

Who should get vitamin D infusions?

People who are deficient in vitamin D consider getting an infusion as part of their regular supplement regimen. Commonly associated with strong bones, several studies have also found a link between low levels of vitamin D and heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus type II, osteoporosis, and other diseases. Whether low vitamin d levels are due to a disease or simply because of recent lifestyle choices, an infusion can help your body get back on track.

Another group that should consider getting vitamin D infusions is people who want to boost their immune system. Vitamin D helps regulate cell production, which controls how well your body fights off infections. Getting an infusion can help make you less susceptible to both viral and bacterial infections, including colds and flu. Depending on the time of year, it may play a bigger factor in whether or not you should get a vitamin infusion.