Little known benefits to maintaining proper vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for your body. While vitamin D can be found in small amounts in some foods, including fatty fish, and is frequently added to dairy, most vitamin D is made by our body through exposure to sunlight. A concentration of <30nanograms per milliliter is generally considered inadequate and requiring treatment.
There are many benefits to maintaining a proper level of vitamin D. Here are 10 of them.
- Keeps bone and teeth strong. Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis and decreases fractures.
- Boosts immune system. Vitamin D has been found to inhibit the development of destructive autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease.
- Inhibits certain cancers like breast, colon and prostate cancer. Vitamin D encourages cell differentiation, and also slows down the rate at which cells multiply.
- Reduces inflammation and pain. Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Chronic inflammation is a cause of many disease processes, including heart disease and cancer.
- Protects against diabetes. Your pancreas needs sufficient vitamin D in order to make and secrete insulin.
- Helps reduce blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
- Builds stronger muscles. Older people with high vitamin D levels lose muscle mass more slowly than those with low levels of the vitamin.
- Decreases certain respiratory and food allergies. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with celiac disease, asthma, and psoriasis.
- Improves energy and mood. Most cells in our bodies have receptors for vitamin D. If a cell is able to access vitamin D readily, then it can perform optimally.
- Decreases the risk of cognitive decline. Vitamin D has been shown to lower the risk of dementia, autism and Alzheimer’s disease.
Maintaining a proper vitamin D level is essential to optimizing your health. As I advise my patients, make sure you have your vitamin D level checked regularly, do some fun outdoor activities with your family, and take vitamin D supplement as needed. After all, treat your body well, and your body will thank you!
Dr. Elaine King