The benefits of Vitamin D for your bodyDec 04, 2021
By Sophia McDermott, Lifestyle Coach & Fitness Expert.
It is super important that we get a quota of all our vitamins, but if there is one vitamin that takes priority it's Vitamin D.
What does Vitamin D do for your body?
Vitamin D acts as a super vitamin (which actually is more like a hormone) that helps to create other components in the body such as other hormones) and helps your body to absorb other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D plays a role in many things ranging from bone health to the immune system to mood, energy levels and much more.
Studies have shown links between vitamin D deficiency and a wide range of things from bone loss (osteoporosis) to disease, mental health issues and immune system function.
There has been evidence of links between vitamin D deficiencies and cancer, in particular, prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. People who do not go out in the sun or who live far from the equator where sunlight is limited are more prone to be Vitamin D deficient. People with darker skin, severely overweight or elderly are at a greater risk also, as are new mothers who are breastfeeding. This is concerning because as more people are suspected to be vitamin D deficient, more and more evidence is building up about the overall importance of vitamin D and health. For most adults, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is around 600–800 IU, but many experts are recommending getting even more than that.
What are the symptoms of low vitamin D?
There are a few telltale signs of Vitamin D deficiencies, here are the most obvious ones.
1. Fatigue and tiredness.
If you are feeling overly tired you may have low levels. Tiredness is so generalised but it is a known symptom of vitamin D deficiency
2. Getting sick often.
If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low levels of vitamin D may be a contributing factor. Vitamin D plays a huge role in keeping your immune system strong.
3. Muscle soreness.
There has been evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain and low levels increase those general aches and pains.
4. Sore bones or osteoporosis
Vitamin D improves your body’s absorption of calcium so it's essential for bone health. Low levels are a contributing factor to bone loss and osteoporosis.
Feeling blue or depressed is a symptom of low levels of vitamin D. This correlates to lack of sunlight due to seasonal depression also.
6. Inability to recover from sores or infections.
Vitamin D plays a big part in your immune system so just like an inability to fight colds, Your body doesn’t do so well at healing.
How to get Vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be found in our food, supplements and through sunlight exposure. Fatty fish and fortified cereals are high in Vitamin D. It is very difficult to get your quota of Vitamin D through food alone
Sunlight has had a bad rap due to skin damage, yet we all need sunlight and it’s one of the best ways to get vitamin D. In fact all you need to get your daily dose is 30 minutes a day! So even though we have all been told to stay out of the sun, getting outside for 30 minutes a day is one of the best things you can do for your health. What most of us forget is that we spend a vast amount of time indoors working so actually getting that daily dose of sunlight is often a challenge in this current day and age. But did you know that if you lather yourself in sunscreen every time you are outside it diminishes your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D? Of course protecting your skin with good sunscreen is important if you are going to be outside for long periods of time. Most sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that are highly carcinogenic. Stay away from avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule. (I'll talk about sunscreens in more detail in another blog). Stick to mineral-based sunscreens such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. We will go into more detail on sunscreens another time.
Tips for incorporating being outdoors into your lifestyle.
Here are some ways where you can incorporate some sun time into your daily routine to get your quota of natural sunlight.
- Exercise outdoors, full bodyweight circuits are perfect to do outside.
- Go for walks outdoors rather than on a treadmill at a gym.
- Walk or bike ride to your destinations instead of driving.
- Arrange some zen time or family time out in nature or at the park.
- Sit outdoors rather than indoors at a cafe
- Enjoy your lunch break outside. Get out of the office and enjoy your lunch break outside.
A diet rich in foods high in vitamin D is fabulous. Another great way to get your quota of Vitamin D For optimal health is through sunlight. Aim to get outside and get some sunlight on a daily basis and try these suggestions. Don’t forget to use mineral-based sunscreens. And if it’s tough for you to get sunlight due to your location or climate, supplement with this super important vitamin to stay healthy.