Vitamin D is essential to the body’s ability to function healthily. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is exceptionally common.
One of the primary roles of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are crucial minerals that keep the bones strong. When a person does not consume enough vitamin D, not enough calcium and phosphorus can get into the bones. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency can lead to problems like osteoporosis, easily broken bones, and in extreme cases, rickets. Rickets is a disease that is primarily found in children; it involves softening of the bones and prevents children from growing and developing properly.
In addition to the essential role it plays in bone health, vitamin D can help prevent illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, mood disorders, and certain autoimmune diseases.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with multiple sclerosis, which is a devastating autoimmune disease that affects the nerve cells. According to some medical research, having a high level of serum vitamin D may be protective against this disease. This is because vitamin D is what scientists refer to as an immunomodulator. This means that the vitamin helps to stabilize the immune system. Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system malfunctions and attacks parts of a person’s own body.
Another potential benefit of vitamin D is that it appears to lower the risk of contracting the flu. At least one study has demonstrated that children who take vitamin D supplements are less likely to get the flu during the winter. This may have to do with vitamin D’s immunomodulating effects.
Vitamin D may be useful in treating mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. People with these disorders are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than people who have no mental health problems.
Finally, supplementing vitamin D may help people lose weight and avoid obesity-related diseases. This is because vitamin D supplements can act as appetite suppressants. People who have normal vitamin D levels are also less likely to develop heart disease.
It is difficult to get enough vitamin D in today’s world, but being deficient in this nutrient can be costly. People can improve their vitamin D levels by spending more time outside, eating dairy and fish, and taking supplements.