Vitamin D and Your Health

Vitamin D has amazing benefits. Are you getting enough?

A vitamin D traffic sign shades against the sun behind.

More than 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. That’s scary, especially considering that without this essential vitamin, you can develop osteoporosis, rickets, and muscle pain.

The benefits of having enough vitamin D are amazing—increased metabolism and a reduced risk of depression and heart disease. Here’s what else you should know about this super vitamin.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps your body absorb other vitamins. There are actually five main types of vitamin D, but the most common ones are D2 and D3, both of which are also known by the name “calciferol.”

Your body naturally creates vitamin D (D3) when exposed to sunlight, however, if you opt to take vitamin D supplements, read the label on the bottle to learn which type it is because while similar in chemical structure, they are a bit different. For example, vitamin D3 has been shown to raise vitamin D levels in your blood for longer than vitamin D2.

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

One of the primary functions of vitamin D is to help in the absorption of calcium to keep your bones strong and healthy.

Without sufficient vitamin D, the calcium in the bloodstream cannot be absorbed resulting in possible weak and brittle bones. This can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets.

Additionally, vitamin D is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, making it beneficial for your whole body. It can help treat psoriasis, ease depression, boost your immune system and metabolism, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

How do I get more vitamin D?

While your body naturally produces vitamin D with adequate sunlight exposure, you get it through certain foods such as salmon, shrimp, and eggs. Other foods, like orange juice, cereal, and milk, are artificially fortified with vitamin D.

Related: 7 Health Benefits of Sunlight

If you are still concerned about your intake, vitamin D supplements are available at most grocery stores. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements.

How much vitamin D do I need?

Generally speaking, most people need between 600 and 800 units of vitamin D each day. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D can become toxic if too much is ingested. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re unsure how much vitamin D is right for you.

Related: 7 Foods That Are Good Sources of Vitamin C

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