Shining the light on the Sunshine Vitamin

Posted by Mei Ying Teh on

The body is constantly in need of vitamins, as these are considered as essential to keep the body at its best. The body is able to produce some vitamins on its own, but sometimes it is unable to do so in sufficient amounts.[1] One of these is what some would love to call the “sunshine vitamin”—Vitamin D. Though sunlight is one source of Vit. D, not everyone can get enough levels of it. School or work might see us spending our hours indoors with little time to bask in sunshine outdoors, and some actively avoid it due to the increased risk of skin cancer from UV rays.

But Vit. D is a crucial immune system regulator and is absolutely necessary for our health.[2] Its main job is to aid the body in the absorption of calcium from the intestines.[3] Without enough Vit. D, bones can be thin, fragile, or become deformed. This vitamin also prevents rickets in children, and osteoporosis in adults.[4] Fortunately, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body can accumulate for an extended period of time.[5] Like its wondrous moniker, here are the ways Vit. D can make you feel good from the inside out.

 

The Deal with Vitamin D

While immunity and bone growth are the better-known benefits of this vitamin, there are also surprising ways where this plays into a person’s well-being.[6]

 

1. Fights against diseases[7] – Research proposes that Vit. D may play a role in reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and protect you from catching the flu.

2. Reduces depression[8] – Vit. D may have necessary role in adjusting the mood and warding off depression. In a study where Vit. D supplements were given to patients with clinical depression, the participants noted an improvement in the stability of their mood and helped with its severity.

3. Boosts weight loss[9] – It has also been shown that additional calcium and Vit. D supplements supress the appetite. Taken daily, the supplements in tandem supported weight loss.

 

Vitamin D from Food[10]

If you’re not getting enough time under the sun, then a Vit. D-rich diet can help you out. The recommended daily value (DV) of Vit. D is 800 IU (international unit) per day from food. If one can’t get enough sunlight, the intake should be closer to 1,000 IU per day. Here are our suggestions that you can easily fit in your weekly grocery list.

1. Salmon – This is a popular fatty fish and is a great source of Vit. D. The wild-caught variety contains about 988 IU per serving, while farmed salmon contains about 250 IU.

2. Egg yolks – Eggs from hens that are raised outside or fed with Vit. D-enriched feed comprise much higher levels of the required IU than eggs from commercially raised hens which only contains about 37 IU.

3. Mushrooms – Mushrooms can produce vitamin D when exposed to UV lights. Some varieties of wild mushrooms contain up to 2,300 IU per 100 gram serving (that’s nearly three times the DV). While commercially grown mushrooms that are grown in the dark contains lower levels of vitamin D.

4. Fortified food – Cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, and oatmeal are sometimes enriched with Vit. D and may contain 54-136 IU per serving.

Consuming the following food is one of the ways to get enough Vit. D. But supplements can always help on hectic days (or weeks) when you’re not hitting your DVs through nutritious meals. (We know. We’ve been there.)

 

Vitamin D-ficiency?

Without knowing it, a person might already be Vit. D deficient, which happens a lot more than you think. Most people do not realize that they’re already lacking as symptoms are mild and might be attributed to other factors or illnesses.[11] Here are some of the symptoms of Vit. D deficiency which will need some attention and action.

1. Getting sick or infected often[12] – Vitamin D aids in keeping the immune system strong to fight off bacteria and virus that causes illness. If an individual experiences sickness like colds, or flu, the reason could be low Vit. D levels. Studies have shown a connection between the deficiency and infections in the respiratory tract like colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Being attentive to good hygiene practices will help,[13] but daily intake of supplements with Vit. D like Now Foods Ultra Omega 3-D, 600 EPA/300 DHA will prop up your body’s defences against infection.

 

2. Bone and Back pain[14] – Insufficient levels of Vit. D in the blood might be the cause of bone and back pain. Researchers have found a link between the deficiency and chronic lower back pain, as Vit. D is associated in proper calcium absorption. Poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, or spending long hours at your desk will also aggravate underlying problems with the bones. And so consider standing every hour and walking short distance to rest your back. You might also want to check your posture, consider adjusting your neck, shoulder and back alignment to prevent pressures in the spine.[15] Given how Vit. D is vital for increasing the calcium absorption in the body, a supplement like Now Foods Vitamin D-3, 2,000 IU can help reduce back pain by improving bone strength.

 

3. Skin damage and premature aging of skin[16] [17]– Vit. D in skincare is also considered as a potent anti-aging and acne-fighting booster. But dermatologists also caution against being exposed to the UV rays in sunlight, which induce cellular oxidation leading to premature aging and skin cancers. No need to skip out on this essential nutrient though! It’s easy to incorporate Vit. D in your diet or through supplements so your skin can get an easy glow every day. And applying Vit. D directly on your skin through products like Now Foods Vitamin D-3 Cream can make it soft, supple, and smooth. This vehicle will also provide the moisture that the skin needs, adding to the benefit of the vitamin itself.

 

4. Muscle Pain[18] – Strenuous physical activities will lead to soreness and muscle aches. This can be acquired through playing sports, lifting, pushing or pulling something heavy, exercising, and even falling. But check if your body is not recovering sufficiently from these activities, or if you’re feeling sore without having strained yourself. This might be a sign that you lack Vit. D, as there is a connection between the vitamin and pain-sensing nerve cells. An adequate warm-up and cool down routine can mitigate the ache caused by sports and work outs, while foods like salmon and eggs deliver protein and Vit. D which aid tissue growth and repair.[19] Targeted supplements for nerve, muscle and bone support like Now Foods Magnesium & Calcium, Reverse 2:1 Ratio with Zinc and Vitamin D-3 will also help address this concern. Consult with your physician on how much of these supplements you should incorporate to your diet according to your lifestyle.

 

As most people are unconscious that they’re body lacks Vit. D, it’s a good thing that this is usually easy to fix with the help of a bit of sun, healthy food, and reliable supplements. Soon, anyone can feel as right as a sunbeam too!

 

 

Image credits

Photo 1: https://elements.envato.com/sunglasses-inscription-vitamin-d-and-shape-of-sun--PBDQCZL

Photo 2: https://elements.envato.com/happy-cheerful-woman-plays-the-guitar-and-sings-3BEQ6S3

Photo 3: https://elements.envato.com/mushrooms-fresh-mushrooms-in-basket-ESJK9DP

Photo 4: https://elements.envato.com/couple-is-sick-T5PWJNA

Photo 5: https://elements.envato.com/painful-injury-runners-physical-muscle-pain-PV2NRFT

 

 

[1] https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/vitamins-and-minerals.htm#:~:text=Vitamins%20and%20minerals%20are%20considered,energy%2C%20and%20repair%20cellular%20damage.

[2] https://healthinspireddentistry.com/blogs/interesting-facts-about-vitamin-d/

[3] https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/vitamin-d-myths-debunked/

[4] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-101#what-it-is

[6] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d

[7] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#fights-disease

[8] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#reduces-depression

[9] https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#boosts-weight-loss

[10] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d#1

[11]  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms

[12] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section1

[13] https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch3~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch3.7

[14] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section3

[15] https://www.spine-health.com/blog/7-ways-relieve-back-pain-naturally

[16] https://blog.drdennisgross.com/2017/05/05/vitamin-d-helps-achieve-dream-skin/

[17] https://www.insider.com/how-does-vitamin-d-affect-your-skin-2019-1#:~:text=Healthy%20vitamin%20D%20levels%20might,skin%2C%20psoriasis%2C%20or%20eczema.

[18] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#section8

[19] https://www.runnersworld.com/women/a20799168/top-3-foods-for-muscle-soreness/

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