Vitamin D3 Benefits: Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to popularity, vitamin C likes to hog the stage. For that reason, people don’t often hear about the vitamin D3 benefits. They load up on other supplements without realizing that vitamin D deserves some attention. If you’re ignoring the essential vitamin, you should reconsider. Find out what vitamin D can do for you.
What is Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D is a nutrient that plays some important roles in your body. Primarily, it promotes healthy bones. It helps your bones absorb calcium, which helps them to be stronger.
When people have a vitamin D deficiency, they often experience osteoporosis or osteomalacia. In either case, the effects can be devastating. By getting enough vitamin D, you can prevent such diseases.
You can also prevent type 1 diabetes, muscle pain, and multiple types of cancers. Supplementing vitamin D could be just what the doctor ordered.
What About Vitamin D3?
There are two different forms of vitamin D. First, there’s vitamin D2. Also known as ergocalciferol, this vitamin is found in many foods. Secondly, there is vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. This vitamin comes from exposure to sunlight.
Many experts believe that vitamin D3 is the best way to supplement vitamin D. Because it comes from sun exposure, the vitamin might be easier for your body to absorb. It also might be safer than vitamin D2. Unlike vitamin D2, D3 circulates in limited quantities. This makes it safer and less likely for you to overdose.
Signs of a Deficiency
If you have a deficiency in vitamin D3, you can experience several symptoms. Common symptoms of a deficiency include the following:
- Aches, pains, and tiredness
- Severe bone and muscle pain
- Walking with a waddle
- Stress fractures in your legs, hips, or pelvis regions
If you experience any of the above symptoms, you might need more vitamin D. You should consult with a doctor and consider the ways in which you can increase your vitamin D levels.
A Closer Look at Vitamin D3 Benefits
Vitamin D3 benefits come in many forms. Here are a few of the ways in which the vitamin can improve your life.
1. Lower your chances of certain illnesses
Increasing your vitamin D levels can decrease your chances of getting diabetes. Additionally, it can reduce your chance of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart attacks. The vitamin prompts your pancreas to produce insulin and boosts your immune system.
2. Prevent cancer
Many people associate the sun with cancer. However, the opposite can be true. Because the sun boosts your vitamin D3, it can reduce your risk of cancer.
One of the vitamin D3 benefits is its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth1. If you have enough vitamin D3, you might be able to keep cancer at bay. Research shows that people who live in areas with high sun exposure are less likely to develop cancer.
3. Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure comes with a long list of issues2. If you suffer from high blood pressure, you are more likely to develop heart disease, develop kidney disease, or experience a stroke.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to combat high blood pressure. One Boston University study showed that exposure to UVA and UVB rays normalized high blood pressure. After only three months, most participants experienced a drop in their blood pressure.
No one knows for sure why one of the vitamin D3 benefits is lower blood pressure. However, some researchers speculate that it relates to a hormone known as renin. Renin affects hypertension.
4. Reduce depression
Do you suffer from depression? Vitamin D3 might be able to help. In several research studies, vitamin D3 kept depression at bay. It regulated the moods of individuals who received enough sun exposure or vitamin D supplements.
Other research shows that people who suffer from depression tend to be deficient in vitamin D. If you get enough D3, you might be able to improve your mood.
5. Lose weight
Losing weight isn’t easy. However, vitamin D3 can make it easier. One of the vitamin D3 benefits is weight loss3.
One research study compared individuals who took a calcium and vitamin D supplement to those who took a placebo. The individuals who took the supplements experienced a decreased appetite. For an unknown reason, vitamin D3 could work as an appetite suppressant. It’s a simple way to make weight loss a little easier.
How Much Vitamin D3 Do You Need?
The government recommends a daily vitamin D intake of about 200 IU for individuals under the age of 514. Meanwhile, they recommend 400 IU for individuals between the ages of 51 and 70. They recommend 600 IU for those over the age of 70.
However, those recommendations might not be accurate. To experience vitamin D3 benefits, you might need a higher dose. Some researchers recommend a dose of 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Whether you get the vitamin from your food, the sun, or supplements, the supplementation can make a difference in your health.
Foods like salmon and canned sardines contain a high content of vitamin D2. But eating enough vitamin D2 to fulfill your 1,000 IU is challenging. Vitamin D3 could be the answer.
If you turn to the sun for vitamin D, you could meet your recommended daily dose. The sun stimulates your skin to produce vitamin D. As a result, soaking up the sun could improve your health.
Being Cautious with your Vitamin D3
Although vitamin D3 is good for you, too much sunlight can be detrimental to your health. You should be cautious, or you risk skin cancer.
It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D3 without risking skin cancer. However, you can try sunning yourself for a short time each day. After a few minutes of getting sunlight, you should use sunblock.
Another option is to take vitamin D supplements. As with every other type of supplement, you should be careful not to overdo it. Too much vitamin D can hurt you. As a water-soluble vitamin, D gets stored in your body. A high dose in your body can cause kidney disease and other issues.
As long as you supplement your vitamin D with care, you can reap the many benefits. Spend some extra time in the sun or try a new supplement; your health could depend on it.
References: 1. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/vitamin-d-fact-sheet, Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention, October 21, 2013 2. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/hypertension-frequently-asked-questions#1, Frequently Asked Questions About High Blood Pressure 3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-weight-loss, Can Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight? 4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/, Vitamin D