To D or Not to D, Vitamin D that is. What is Vitamin D? How does Vitamin D work? Does your body really need it? What are some signs that your body is low on Vitamin D? What does it do to your body? We are going to answer all these questions and more.
What is Vitamin D? According to the Vitamin D Council, Vitamin D is important for not only strong, healthy bones but for overall good health. It’s also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain perform well and to ensure that your body can fight off infection. 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. Recent research shows that Vitamin D may be important in preventing and treating several serious long-term health problems.
How does Vitamin D work? Vitamin D mainly comes from your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. After that, your body goes through a number of chemical processes to convert it so that your body can use it. When your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces Vitamin D and sends it to your liver. If you take supplements or eat foods that contain Vitamin D, your stomach also then sends the Vitamin D to your liver. From there, your liver converts it to a substance called 25(OH)D. While you may not recognize 25(OH)D, when your doctor talks to you about your Vitamin D levels, they’re referring to the amount of 25(OH)D you have in your blood. This chemical is sent all over your body where different tissues, including your kidney, turn it into activated Vitamin D. This activated Vitamin D is then ready to perform its duties. From there, things get a little complicated. Think of activated Vitamin D working in two ways: one, managing calcium in your blood, bones and stomach and two, helping cells all over your body to communicate properly.
Does your body really need it? Vitamin D isn’t like most other vitamins. Your body can make its own Vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But your body can’t make other vitamins. You need to get other vitamins from the foods you eat. For example, if your body needs Vitamin C, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. What makes Vitamin D unique, compared to other vitamins, is that when your body gets its Vitamin D, it turns it into a hormone. This hormone is sometimes called “activated Vitamin D” or “calcitriol.” Calcitriol has several important functions in the body such as maintaining serum calcium levels by increasing calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and it promotes healthy bone formation by the calcification of osteoid tissue.
Signs that your body is low on Vitamin D? When your body doesn’t get enough Vitamin D to keep it healthy, Vitamin D deficiency occurs. As mentioned earlier, severe Vitamin D deficiency can sometimes cause a condition called rickets in children and a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Both 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 disease, and type-I diabetes.
How does it benefit your body? We’ve said it before, but we can’t stress enough, 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 Vitamin D 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. Vitamin D is important for general good health, and researchers now are discovering that Vitamin D 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 the immune system which helps you to fight infections, muscle functions, cardiovascular function for a healthy heart and circulation, respiratory system for healthy lungs and airways, brain development, and last but certainly not least, anti-cancer effects.
How do you get Vitamin D? Your body can make its own Vitamin D from sunlight. You can also get Vitamin D from supplements and a very small amount can come from a few foods you eat. The Vitamin D that you get in your skin from sunlight, and the Vitamin D from supplements, must be converted by your body several times before it can be used. Once it’s ready, your body 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. Getting the right amount of Vitamin D doesn’t depend on the foods you eat. To get enough Vitamin D you need to expose your skin to sunlight regularly and you may also need to take supplements. This makes getting the right amount a little more complex compared to other vitamins and minerals.
To D or not to D? Have we convinced you of your need to add Vitamin D to your diet? Some find it is very hard to add enough Vitamin D naturally, the use of vitamins and nutrients to supplement the need for this amazing vitamin can help. Buddy Shots, while customizable to your specific needs, come with the recommended amount of Vitamin D. Experiencing soft, brittle bones, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, or autoimmune disorder symptoms? Chat with one of our Buddies today about adding Vitamin D to your diet through your customized Buddy Shot.