WHY DO YOU NEED VITAMIN D?
New research is shedding even more light on vitamin D’s vital function in the body. It has long been known that vitamin D plays a central role in facilitating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, thereby maintaining bone health. Without it, the musculature, immune system and nerves wouldn’t function properly.
Vitamin D combats many serious diseases. Many studies have found low vitamin D levels in patients with heart diseases including hypertension and heart failure, as well as those with type 2 diabetes. A huge study of data from the UK Biobank examined 295 788 participants and found that the incidence of heart failure was consistently lower among people with higher vitamin D levels.
NEW STUDIES ON VITAMIN D
A couple of new studies have discovered that vitamin D is also essential for the prevention of inflammation and depression. It has long been believed that a lack of vitamin D causes symptoms of depression. In fact, a subtype of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is linked to the onset of winter (and hence lower levels of sunlight/vitamin D).
Vitamin D does appear to play a role in mood regulation. However, the exact mechanism by which it affects mood is unclear. In conditions like SAD, the lack of direct sunlight during the winter months can be overcome with vitamin D supplements. In fact, since depression often goes along with increased reclusiveness and a lack of proper diet, vitamin D supplements can help depressive patients attain their recommended doses.
Other studies have indicated that vitamin D is essential for controlling inflammation. One study examined the link between vitamin D levels and systematic low-grade inflammation. The researchers found that levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein were increased in patients with low vitamin D. Data from the Vitamin D and Omega 3 Trial (VITAL) further indicated that patients who took 2000 IU of vitamin D3 for 5 years had a 22% lower chance of developing autoimmune disorders.