It’s pretty much a fact of contemporary life: Like most working Americans, you most likely sit in an air-conditioned and fluorescent-lit work-space for around 8-10 hours every day, with little hope of seeing a ray of sunlight. Sure, this is a gloomy depiction of day-to-day life—but it isn’t a far cry from the reality most people face.
But if you are interested in having some sunshine in your life, you might want to give Vitamin D a try. This vitamin is also called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is naturally gotten from exposure to sunlight. Luckily, there are still a number of foods and supplements that can help you maintain substantial levels of Vitamin D.
In addition to its obvious positive impact on the body’s immunity, here are five more amazing reasons why you need vitamin D.
It improves muscle function
Do you think stronger muscles are worth much? If your answer is positive, then you’re on track. This simply means, it’s time you re-evaluated your vitamin D levels. Because according to Science Daily, research has shown that there is a good relationship between vitamin D and muscle function.
And while you may not be too bothered with all the muscle-building talk, Vitamin D is relevant if you find it hard to at least, engage in basic exercises — let alone try out sweat-inducing exercise regimes.
It can protect lung function
We all want to breathe easy with a lung that’s optimally functional. Well, the sunshine vitamin will not only improve your lung function, you’ll breathe better too. To reduce coughing, excess mucus, and shortness of breath, a Lead Author at Queen Mary University of London, Professor Adrian Martineau says Vitamin D supplement can prove really helpful.
Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with protecting the lung against some of the effects of smoking. Notwithstanding, we can’t say this enough – your best bet is to quit smoking!
It can help you shed some weight
Are you progressively packing up more weight? There may be a way to curb this, according to a study by a team at Massey University. Results showed that after six months of taking Vitamin D supplements, participants who were given 4,000 IU daily dose of vitamin D3 showed improvements in their insulin resistance levels.
If that’s not proof enough, a University of Minnesota research found that at the start of a diet, with low calories, high vitamin D consumption can make weight-loss easier. Hey, that’s some really easy way to shed excess fat, right? We bet it is.
It can improve heart function
Are heart-related illnesses common in your family? If yes, you might be interested to know that high Vitamin D levels can help lower blood pressure. This is according to a 2012 study presented at the European Society of Hypertension meeting in London.
Have you also tried adding Vitamin D-rich foods like milk and shrimp to your grocery list? You should –there’s nothing to lose.
It can reduce depression
Did you know that the rate of depression has gone so up that the WHO predicts that by the year 2020, it will be the second most common global disease? Well, we are thankful that in a randomized double blind trial by R. Jorde,M. Sneve,Y. Figenschau,J. Svartberg, and K. Waterloo, results showed that people with depressive symptoms who received high doses of vitamin D supplements noticed significant changes in their mood.
For many experiencing anxiety and depression, sunshine or diet alone may be insufficient in providing the needed Vitamin D. However, with supplementation of the vitamin, there is a silver lining, after all.
Food sources of vitamin D
Some people are able to eat a balanced diet—consisting of almost all the recommended quantity of vitamins and nutrients, but truth is, not much of it contain natural vitamin D. Because of this, there’s also the need for nutrient-fortified foods.
Some of the top sources of vitamin D include:
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified foods like milk, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, soy milk, orange juice
Vitamin D deficiency
While health issues like osteoporosis (fragile bones) or osteomalacia (soft bones) might be among the wince-causing symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, there are actually others.
The other symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- Getting sick with colds and the flu.
- Fatigue and headaches due to significantly low blood levels.
- Back pain.
- Impaired injury healing after cuts or surgeries.
- Severe hair loss.
- Chronic muscle pain.
Now, it seems that Vitamin D use is having some good enough publicity: So many people seem to be turning to supplements, as several factors now inhibit getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun.
These factors include:
- Living in high pollution areas.
- Sunscreen use.
- Spending too much time indoors
- Living in buildings with no natural sunlight
- Higher melanin levels (especially true for people with dark skin).
If you are diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, doctors are most likely to recommend a daily intake of Vitamin D supplements. Now, even with its mouth-watering health benefits, before you head to the grocery store to pick up a Vitamin D supplement, read the labels carefully and select wisely.
To keep symptoms at bay, also ensure to get enough sunlight and eat the right foods.
Obviously, flu shots and obsessive hand washing are not the only way to ward off colds, the flu or other health problems. In fact, a study by Colorado and Massachusetts researchers indicated that participants whose blood tests showed lower levels of Vitamin D were more likely to contract infections.
Since it’s somewhat hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, this begs the question: Do you get enough Vitamin D? The probable answer: Not as much as the body requires.
If you want to ensure a healthy life and strengthen your body’s defenses– it’s vital to take Vitamin D supplementation seriously.
Did you find this article helpful? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments. It’s always a pleasure!