Vitamin D3, commonly known as the sunshine vitamin is produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight. It can also be consumed in food or derived from supplements. Vitamin D3 is one of the components in a family of compounds that include vitamin D1, D2 and D3. Most people take it for granted since it is easily available, what they do not know is that it has many health benefits. These include:
Vitamin D plays a major role in building and maintaining healthy bones by helping to absorb calcium from the digestive system as well as maintaining levels of phosphorus in the blood. Both of these factors are critical for maintaining healthy bones. The vitamin enables the body to absorb calcium from the intestines and prevent excretion of calcium through the kidneys.
When children do not get enough of this vitamin, they develop rickets. This condition is characterized by severe bow-legged appearance triggered by softening of bones and impaired mineralization.
In adults, vitamin D deficiency is characterized by osteoporosis or osteomalacia. Osteoporosis is a common bone disorder affecting post-menopausal men and women. Osteomalacia manifests as muscular and bone weakness. It causes small fractures in the humerus, spine and femur.
Vitamin D is not only good for your bones, it is also critical for the health of your heart. Calcium deposits that stiffen arteries and cause coronary artery disease usually occur in people with vitamin D deficiency. In addition, the vitamin is known to regulate the production of renin in kidneys-a hormone that controls blood pressure. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D plays a key role in increasing blood pressure.
Other health benefits of vitamin D include:
- Mood elevation
- Fortifying immune system
- Boosting weight loss
- Prevention of memory loss
- Prevention of breast cancer and prostate cancer
- Decreasing risk of age-related macular degeneration