Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones. It’s also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that your body can fight infection. Your body also uses it to manage the amount of calcium in your blood, bones and gut and to help cells all over your body to communicate properly.
What does Vitamin D do?
The link between vitamin D and strong healthy bones was made many years ago when doctors realized that sunlight, which allows you to produce vitamin D, or taking cod liver oil, which contains vitamin D, helped to prevent a bone condition called rickets in children. Today, vitamin D is seen as a vital part of good health and it’s important not just for the health of your bones. Recent research is now showing that vitamin D may be important in preventing and treating a number of serious long term health problems.
Vitamin D is very important for strong bones.
Calcium and phosphorus are essential for developing the structure and strength of your bones, and you need it to absorb these minerals. Even if you eat foods that contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus, without enough vitamin D, you can’t absorb them into your body. Is important for general good health, and researchers now are discovering that it may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health. Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:
- Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
- Muscle function
- Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
- Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
- Brain development
- Anti-cancer effects
Doctors are still working to fully understand how vitamin D works within your body and how it affects your overall health.
If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D to keep it healthy, it can sometimes cause a condition called rickets in children and a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Both of these conditions cause soft, thin, and brittle bones.
A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to some other conditions such as cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I diabetes.
Your body gets vitamin D mainly from sunlight, though very small amounts can also be found in a few foods. You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements.
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Article excerpted from vitamindcouncil.com and referenced from:
- Vitamin D, Third Edition by Feldman D, Pike JW, Adams JS. Elsevier Academic Press, 2011.