Sometimes termed as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is produced on your skin as a response to the amount of sunlight you get. It is made naturally when you are exposed to direct sunlight. You can also obtain it through foods and supplements to make sure you are getting enough. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin composed of a family of compounds that include vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Like any other nutrients your body needs, Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The main function of Vitamin D is regulating your body intake of calcium and phosphorus. It also aids in normalizing your immune systems functions. Moreover, getting the right amount of Vitamin D is needed for the growth and development of teeth and bones. Vitamin D also serves you well in increasing your resistance to some diseases. The lack of Vitamin D in your body could lead to bone issues such as soft or fragile bones.
How Does Vitamin D Work?
Vitamin D is a special kind of vitamin that works more like a hormone. The cells in your body have receptors that allow them to detect the active aspects of Vitamin D. This means it can change the expression of your genes. Vitamin D is linked to being able to control inflammation. It also aids in bone health, blood sugar control, immune system, and blood pressure. In terms of it acting like a hormone, this aspect is often overlooked.
Before we jump into the more specific link between Vitamin D and your hormones, let’s dive into what hormones are and the role they play. The hormones in your body act as messengers that allow different cells to communicate with one another. Hormones are expelled by special cells directly into the bloodstream. Once they reach the organ or tissue they are aiming for, special receptors allow them access to the cell. Here, they aid in coordinating bodily functions such as metabolism, growth, and fertility.
Vitamin D and Insulin
Insulin is the hormone in your body that controls the amount of sugar found in your blood. In this regard, Vitamin D is closely linked by helping cells work to determine how sensitive body cells are to the effects of insulin. If insulin is not recognized by the cells, glucose stays in the blood stream and in turn the body will produce more insulin to counter this. If left unchecked this can have damaging effects on the pancreas. A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to diabetes.
Vitamin D and Thyroid Hormones
People who experience poor thyroid function tend to have a low amount of Vitamin D in their system. When people with hypothyroidism were given Vitamin D it was observed that the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone were decreased. A high TSH means that your body is not making enough of this particular hormone which can lead to low thyroid functions. This can result in fatigue, memory problems, constipation, and dry skin.
Vitamin D and Se Hormones
For men, a lack of Vitamin D has been shown to lead to low levels of testosterone. This can lead to low libido, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, fatigue, and insomnia. Having the right levels of Vitamin D will increase this hormone and help you feel better. For women, a Vitamin D deficiency can lead to more complex problems such as elevated estrogen levels. This can cause PMS, fibroids, heavy periods, and oestrogen-dependent cancers.
Vitamin D and Stress
Among the most common benefits of Vitamin D is its ability to reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Many people these days suffer from a hectic lifestyle that can cause stress. Though some cortisol is needed to maintain a healthy body, excess can lead to weight gain, tiredness, weakness, and difficulty in concentrating. Those with the right amount of Vitamin D show lowered levels of cortisol as well as reduced blood pressure.
How Much Vitamin D To Take
Vitamin D is produced on your skin when you are exposed to sunlight. It is a good idea to get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight a day to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D in your system. Though it is recommended that you get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight, this can vary depending on your age and skin colour.
The recommended intake of Vitamin D varies from country to country. In the case of the UK, it is recommended that the average person get 400iu or 10 micrograms. In areas where sunshine is lacking, it is highly recommended that supplements be taken to make up for it.
The Many Benefits Of Vitamin D
Having the right amount of Vitamin D in your body can have a number of healthy outcomes. Aside from working to support the workings of your hormones, Vitamin D can combat a number of ailments that keep you feeling healthy both mentally and physically.
The most notable benefit of Vitamin D is its ability to combat certain diseases. It can lessen the risk of multiple sclerosis as seen in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical association in 2006. Moreover, Vitamin D also decreases the development of heart diseases as published in Circulation. Vitamin D also helps in reducing the development of the flu. These physical health benefits is more than enough to keep in mind that Vitamin D is important. Mentally, Vitamin D is said to reduce depression. Scientists have discovered that people who have enough Vitamin D in their system show improvement in symptoms. The last notable benefit of Vitamin D is that is aids in boosting weight loss. This is done through using supplements with Vitamin D and Calcium, both of which help with appetite-suppression.
Vitamin D is a very important component in our bodies system. Having a deficiency will affect all parts of the body, especially hormonal balance. To be healthy is a good idea to get tested to find out your Vitamin D levels and find out more on how you can properly maintain it. This way you will feel better and be healthier.
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