Health Benefits of Vitamin D
It may finally be summer, but in Ottawa, we sure wait for it for a long time! The positive psychological effects that the sun has on our brains is well-known, but what about the psychological and physiological effects of vitamin D? The health benefits of vitamin D are incredible, and we should know what they are.
And what is vitamin D, anyway?
Turns out, vitamin D is not actually a vitamin—it’s a hormone, and our bodies make it when our skin is exposed to the sunshine. In areas of the world where sunshine is not a guaranteed luxury all the time (Ottawa), this means that our bodies don’t naturally make this very necessary hormone on a continual, consistent basis, and that can be detrimental to our health.
Here are the top 5 health benefits of vitamin D, and reasons why they play an important role in our health and wellness:
Vitamin D Makes Us Happy
Commonly known as the ‘happy hormone’, vitamin D contributes to feelings of joy and fulfillment. The Vitamin D Council explains:
“Exactly how vitamin D works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain.5 Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore, researchers have suggested that vitamin D may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.”
Vitamin D Strengthens Our Bones, Teeth, Nails, and Hair
When your body properly absorbs sufficient amounts of vitamin D, you are able to sustain normal growth and development of bones, teeth, nails and hair. When you don’t get enough, the opposite occurs.
(If you’ve noticed excessive hair loss, brittle nails, and porous teeth, you may just need to speak to a dietician about increasing your dosage of vitamin D!)
Vitamin D Helps Prevent Disease
According to Healthline, vitamin D is key in preventing certain diseases, and reducing your risk for others. These include:
- Reducing your risk of developing multiple sclerosis
- Decreasing your chance of developing heart disease
- Greatly reducing your likelihood of contracting the flu and other viruses
Vitamin D Assists in Weight Loss
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, participants who took both vitamin D and calcium supplements in conjunction with one another were able to lose more weight than subjects who took placebo pills.
Vitamin D Enhances Athletic Performance and Recovery
“In a 2011 study conducted by the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers concluded that “vitamin D may play a significant role in muscle structure and function.”
By improving muscle recovery after exercise, vitamin D works well in the role of enhancing athletic performance and helping the body heal quickly after a workout. So if you’re an athlete, vitamin D might be one of the most important supplements for you to consider taking.
And there you have it! Although there are many health benefits of vitamin D, the 5 above are the most important, and the ones you should know about. If you don’t think you receive enough vitamin D in your life, consider taking a quality supplement and eating foods that are fortified with vitamin D.
If you’re not sure how much to take or what foods have vitamin D typically added to them, please ask me! I might be able to help you. Contact me HERE.
Stay well, health and wellness community!