Vitamin D3’s Benefits On The Brain
Can a day in the sun be good for your health? Many studies point to yes. Despite what you may hear regarding the dangers of sun exposure (skin cancer, burns, premature aging), spending time in the sun can be your greatest source for obtaining vitamin D.
D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is synthesized by our bodies when we spend time in the sun. When ultraviolet light hits our skin, it triggers vitamin D synthesization. And while it’s important to protect your skin from burns, wearing copious amounts of sunscreen can limit and even prevent the absorption of vitamin D.
Studies have found that most Americans are vitamin D deficient, a consequence from increased time spent indoors over the last two decades. The health ramifications of vitamin D deficiency are severe and may cause many health problems.
Vitamin D’s Effect on Your Health
Some health problems associated with vitamin D deficiency include depression, anxiety, type II diabetes, dementia, ischemic heart, stroke, breast cancer, lung cancer, COPD, asthma, and osteoarthritis. Vitamin D can also help to prevent acne, headaches, flu, colds, and shingles. It plays a significant role in immune function by enabling your body to produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides, which fight off a wide range of infections.
It might surprise you to learn that Vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to depression and anxiety. Many people suffer from seasonal depression, and studies are finding a correlation between seasonal depression and vitamin D deficiency. This is likely due to people staying indoors during colder months, compounding the problem. Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are linked to anxiety issues. Because Vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium in the gut, it can play an important role in treating anxiety.
Studies are finding a strong link between dementia and vitamin D deficiency; those suffering from vitamin D deficiency are 19 times more likely to develop dementia and other mental decline. Brain tissues have many vitamin D receptors, which help the brain to grow new nerve cells. Vitamin D also supports glial cell growth and repairs damaged neurons. Vitamin D’s role in decreasing inflammation is also a factor in preventing dementia and other brain health issues.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
You might be suffering from vitamin D deficiency if you are experiencing:
- Chronic fatigue
- Consistent muscle pain
- General weakness
- Sweating profusely during a resting state
- Broken bones
- Depression or feeling down
A vegan diet can also contribute to vitamin D deficiency because it’s hard to obtain vitamin D3 from a vegan food source.
Caffeine consumption can impair vitamin D receptors, which inhibits the amount of vitamin D that can be absorbed by the body. Caffeine, in turn, affects how much calcium the body can absorb, and in the long run, can decrease bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis.
Supplementing with Vitamin D
It’s important to prevent the myriad of health issues associated with vitamin D deficiency, and its an easy problem to solve with proper supplementation.
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