Here at home as well as in nations around the globe, there are a great number of diseases and conditions that can be directly linked to vitamin deficiencies. Of course everyone knows that Vitamin C is essential for immunity and that omega 3 essential fatty acids are necessary for heart and vascular health, but few people actually know that Vitamin D, or rather a lack of Vitamin D, is a leading cause of many health problems around the world. Here is just a little of what you should know about this amazing vitamin.
How Vitamin D Is Obtained
Under normal circumstances the body can manufacture Vitamin D on its own with plenty of exposure to the sun. However, that assumes that you are living in a climate where you are able to get the exposure you need and that your body is able to do its part. Moreover, as we age, we lose the ability to synthesize this necessary vitamin as effectively and so must obtain the necessary levels through vitamin D tablets or diet.
At this point you may be wondering why this one vitamin is so necessary and why you should supplement, sometimes even if you are getting the exposure to the sun you need.
Diseases Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
In a recent article written for Medical News Today, by Megan Ware RDN LD and reviewed by Dr. Helen Webberley, Vitamin D deficiency has been directly linked to Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes and some types of cancer. These are just a few of the diseases that can be directly linked to a Vitamin D deficiency. However, they clearly make it evident that supplementation may be a proactive preventative measure that can help reduce the occurrence of these diseases on a worldwide level.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Mental Health
Vitamin D has also been found to play an important role in mental health. There are a number of Vitamin D receptors in the brain. The receptors are found on the surface of cells where they receive chemical signals. These signals direct a cell to act in a certain way, to divide or to die. It is believed that the Vitamin D receptors can be linked to the development of depression, and as such a Vitamin D deficiency can lead to this condition as well as other mental health problems.
Exactly how a lack of Vitamin D leads to mental health issues is not fully understood as of yet. However, one theory is that Vitamin D affects the levels of serotonin and other monoamines. Anti depressant medications work by increasing the amount of serotonin that the brain produces, and therefore some researchers have suggested that increasing the intake of Vitamin D could also help to treat depression.
A Bit about Vitamin D
Although most people still view ‘D’ as a vitamin, it really is a substance known as a pro-hormone because a healthy body is capable of producing it with exposure to the sun whereas vitamins cannot be manufactured by the human body. Unfortunately, some people either don’t or can’t get the exposure they need and others simply don’t have the ability to do so for some unknown reason. Vitamin D is also necessary to promote strong bones and teeth as well as for the health of the immune system and functions within the brain.
Sometimes referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because most people can manufacture it with exposure to sunlight, this one amazing vitamin has a number of functions within the body and is a necessary component to good health. Whether you feel you are getting enough or that you should supplement ‘in case,’ never fail to underestimate the power of the mighty Vitamin D.