Vitamin D3 - All Hail The Sunshine Vitamin
Until the recent coronavirus outbreak, Vitamin D didn’t grab the headlines it deserves. Yet this natural-born pillar of wellbeing has a surprising number of benefits that are vital to survival. Originally discovered by the German researcher Adolf Windaus, vitamin D is produced naturally in your skin when exposed to sunlight. It has subsequently been dubbed ‘the sunshine vitamin’ by academics.
And for the science buffs among you, Vitamin D consists of D2-ergocalciferol and D3-cholecalciferol. Just in case you need to know for an exam, D1 is a compound rather than a pure vitamin so is no longer used and does not have a scientific name. Vitamin D3 is vitally important for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles, but also has a string of other key benefits. We’ll discuss those in more detail below.
What is vitamin D3?
Cholecalciferol is essentially a dietary source. When absorbed, it transforms into a hormone and plays a role in regulating blood calcium and phosphorus levels. This is important for building and strengthening teeth and bone mass and vital for the developmental growth of bones in children. Vitamin D3 also has a supporting role in strengthening the immune system. Immunity is important for defending the body from foreign, invading organisms that cause illness and disease. You need a strong immune system to combat Covid-19 for example. Researchers have found a link between compromised immunity and a deficiency of vitamin D. It’s therefore important to get a sufficient intake of D3 to avoid missing out on life because you're ill. Other than natural sunlight, you can also boost your vitamin D intake by eating certain foods including oily fish, egg yolks, liver, red meat, fortified breakfast cereals and cheese. Supplements like Himmense SHIFT also give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 - an ignored epidemic
Vitamin D3 deficiency appears to have crept up on the blindside. Researchers have discovered it’s a global pandemic that by and large has been ignored by health organisations and government bodies. In today’s society, there are several factors that contribute to low levels of D3 in the bloodstream, especially city dwellers. Such factors include:
+ Living in high pollution zones
+ Smothering yourself in high-block sunscreen
+ Spending too much time indoors with no exposure to natural sunlight
+ Living in large cities with high-rise buildings
+ Poor diet
+ People with high levels of melanin are less likely to absorb vitamin D3.
Symptoms of Vitamin D-ficiency
+ Tiredness, aches, pains and a general sense of not feeling well
+ Bone diseases such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis
+ Muscle pain
+ Weakness in legs when climbing stairs
+ Struggling to lift yourself out of a low chair
+ Stress factors in legs, pelvis and hips
The Benefits of Vitamin D3
+ Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus
+ Prevents bone disorders such as rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis
+ Facilitates immune system function
+ Fights debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, heart disease and the flu
+ Reduces depression
+ Boosts weight loss
Dem Bones, Dem Vitamin D Bones
Vitamin D plays an important role in building and protecting bones. It is needed to help your body absorb calcium, an important mineral that is necessary for life. Calcium assists the heart, blood and enables your muscles to contract so you can lift things - including yourself. Without vitamin D your bones become brittle and break easily, and your legs are prone to buckle. Around 99% of the calcium in your body is needed for the bones and teeth but we lose a little every day through skin, nails, hair, sweat, urine and faeces. Your body does not produce calcium naturally. It requires a source of vitamin D such as UV light, food and supplements.
If your body is not getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D3, the risk of increasing bone abnormalities such as soft bones and fragile bones is higher. Undeveloped bones due to a vitamin D deficiency results in diseases such as rickets and other skeletal abnormalities such as bowed legs and a stooped posture. Vitamin D has also been found to play a role in reducing the risk of other debilitating diseases including multiple sclerosis, hypoparathyroidism, psuedohypoparathyroidism, and familial hypophosphatemia.
One last thing that should be mentioned is that researchers have found vitamin D has an appetite-suppressing quality that can be used to control weight. The World Health Organisation has dubbed the UK ‘the third fattest nation in Europe’. That smarts a bit, to be honest. Guys we need to shape up. What’s more, obesity increases the risk of death to Covid-19 by around 48%. Vitamin D3, on the other hand, helps to improve the immune system to help fight coronavirus - so two birds one stone. If health and wellbeing wasn’t already a topic that required urgent discussion among men, the coronavirus pandemic should have punched you in the face.