Benefits of Vitamin D
If you live in a northern climate where the sun doesn’t come out often or is not very strong, or if you use a lot of sunscreen, then supplementing with vitamin D is very important. Our bodies manufacture vitamin D with sunlight, and while this vitamin is known to help regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the bones, studies are showing that the benefits of vitamin D go far beyond that.
High levels of vitamin D have been associated with reduced risk of colon cancer, but until recently the reason was not known. Now, a study published in the journal Gut, found that the higher the levels of vitamin D, the less likely participants were to develop colorectal tumors. The thought is that vitamin D and the immune system interact together to prevent the growth.
For Autoimmune Disorders
Research has shown that vitamin D can help people living with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and systemic lupus erythematosus. In fact, even conventional doctors are recommending vitamin D to their patients upon diagnosis.
More research is needed on why it is beneficial, but current research is showing that vitamin D can lower inflammation in the body, which can help prevent and ease symptoms. For instance, in the case of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, vitamin D could help to reduce the number of relapses and their severity.
There are various studies that point to vitamin D being beneficial for things like depression. The link between seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and vitamin D seems apparent. Vitamin D levels fluctuate during this time, and less sunlight in the season correlates to the amount of time to the onset of SAD.
Vitamin D also plays a part in the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin within brain. Both of those chemicals, or lack of them, have been linked to depression. This makes the connection between low levels of vitamin D and depression even stronger.
Lastly, various studies have found that people suffering from depression often have lower levels of vitamin D.
“Our analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that low vitamin D concentration is associated with depression.” – BJPsych
For Pain Control
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce pain. For instance, one study included patients with fibromyalgia, a disease which causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. All patients had low levels of vitamin D. Researchers randomly gave patients vitamin D supplements or a placebo for 5 months. After both groups went off the supplement, the group taking vitamin D were reporting less pain even weeks after the study, whereas the placebo group didn’t notice a change in their pain level.
For Brain Health
Studies have found that there is a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In fact, many studies have found that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of decline in cognitive function by up to 60%.
It is thought the vitamin D can protect the brain by regulating the immune system, enhancing nerve signals, regulating calcium levels, and reducing the risk of disease that affects the brain.