Often known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for maintaining a healthy body. This vitamin offers a wide range of benefits, from maintaining healthy teeth and bones to boosting your immune system. So, what are the vitamin D3 benefits that you should know about?
This article will explain the benefits of vitamin D3, along with exploring whether you should be taking vitamin D3 supplements.
Should You Be Taking Vitamin D3 Supplements?
When you’re looking to boost your health, you may consider taking vitamin supplements. But which supplements should you take?
Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for the human body. It’s well-known that vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bones, but it goes much further than this. Vitamin D is also vital for the healthy function of your immune system and for regulating your blood calcium levels.
Read on to discover some of the surprising benefits of vitamin D3, and to discover whether you should be taking vitamin D3 supplements.
What Is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D is often known as the sunshine vitamin. This is because vitamin D is naturally produced within your skin when it is exposed on sunlight. You’ll also find vitamin D in some foods such as some mushrooms, fish and egg yolks.
Many people think that vitamin D is just one vitamin. However, vitamin D can be broken down into several different vitamins, with the most common dietary forms being vitamins D2 and D3.
Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources such as some mushrooms and fortified products. Vitamin D3 comes from animal-sources such as egg yolks and fish. It’s also vitamin D3 that our skin naturally produces when exposed to direct sunlight.
Can’t You Just Get Vitamin D3 Naturally?
Vitamin D3 is produced naturally by your body when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight. However, this relies on your body having access to sufficient sunlight throughout the year.
In the UK, many people are deficient in vitamin D. This is because during the winter months, the sunlight isn’t strong enough to provide the vitamin D that we need. For this reason, the NHS recommends that everyone in the UK takes a vitamin D supplement during the winter months.
So, although it is possible to get vitamin D naturally, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight or your diet, especially during the winter.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D is commonly associated with maintaining healthy bones. However, the benefits of vitamin D are far more extensive, impacting almost every function of your body.
Taking vitamin D supplements can help to:
- Maintain healthy teeth and bones
- Boost your immune system
- Support muscle function
- Improve absorption of calcium and phosphorus
- Support healthy cell division
Read on to find out more about the benefits of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 For Healthy Teeth And Bones
Vitamin D is best known for its important role in maintaining healthy teeth and bones. This is because vitamin D helps to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are essential for maintaining healthy bones.
Maintaining optimum levels of vitamin D in your body is essential for normal growth and the development of your bones and teeth.
If you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body, your ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus may be impaired. This is because vitamin D stimulates the intestines to absorb calcium, preventing it from being excreted by the kidneys.
In children, a vitamin D deficiency can result in rickets – a softening of the bones which leads to bowlegs. In adults, not getting enough vitamin D can put you at risk of bone abnormalities such as osteomalacia (soft bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones).
Vitamin D3 For Immune System
Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system. It helps to facilitate immune responses, enabling the immune system to function normally. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, you may find yourself more susceptible to illness.
Studies have found that vitamin D helps to stimulate both the innate and adaptive immune response. Therefore, a vitamin D deficiency can leave you at an increase susceptibility of infection whilst also increasing your risk of autoimmune conditions.
Scientists also believe that having the optimum levels of vitamin D in your body can help to reduce your chances of catching the influenza virus. However, more research is needed to confirm this protective effect.
Vitamin D3 For Muscle Function
As well as being important for bone health, vitamin D also plays a vital role in muscle function. If your body lacks vitamin D, you may notice a decrease in muscle function and performance. On the other hand, vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve muscle strength, especially in elderly patients.
A 2015 review of studies found that taking vitamin D supplements can help to improve muscle strength, balance and gait in a wide range of age groups. However, greatest level of benefit was seen in elderly and frail patients.
Taking vitamin D supplements is a great way to support the health of your musculoskeletal system, giving it the nutrients that it needs to thrive.
Vitamin D3 For The Absorption Of Calcium And Phosphorus
Vitamin D plays an essential role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are essential for bone and muscle health as a deficiency in these minerals can lead to joint pain, osteoporosis (fragile bones) and muscle spasms.
Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium and phosphorus that your intestines are able to absorb. It does this by stimulating your bone calcium mobilisation whilst increasing renal reabsorption of calcium.
If you didn’t have any vitamin D in your body, you’d only be able to absorb around 10% of the calcium from your diet. This highlights the crucial role that vitamin D plays in calcium and phosphorus absorption.
Vitamin D3 For Cell Division
The benefits of vitamin D go far beyond bone health and calcium absorption. Vitamin D has also been found to play an important role in healthy cell division.
New cells are typically produced slowly to enable time for differentiation. This is the process by which cells are created for different functions. Although rapid cell division (also known as proliferation) is needed to quickly heal wounds, if this proliferation becomes uncontrolled, it can lead to mutations which can cause diseases such as cancer.
Studies have shown that vitamin D helps to stimulate the differentiation of cells, preventing proliferation. This makes vitamin D an essential vitamin for healthy cell division and differentiation.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D deficiency can be extremely dangerous for your body. However, most people don’t realise that they are deficient in vitamin D until the consequences become more serious.
The first symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness and mood changes such as depression. However, if vitamin D deficiency is left untreated, it can quickly become more serious.
In children, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets. This is a condition which causes incorrect growth patterns, muscle weakness and deformities in joints. In adults, a vitamin D deficiency can result in osteomalacia (soft bones) and osteoporosis (fragile bones).
Other conditions which can result from a vitamin D deficiency include depression, a weakened immune system, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic fatigue.
How To Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
The best source of vitamin D is through sunlight. When your skin is exposed to the sun’s rays, it will produce vitamin D3. However, wearing sun cream or thick clothing can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb sunlight.
In the UK, the sun is not strong enough during the winter months to provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D. For this reason, the NHS recommends that everyone in the UK take a vitamin D supplement, especially during the winter.
You can also find vitamin D in foods such as UV-enriched mushrooms, certain types of fish and egg yolks. However, it is difficult to consume enough vitamin D from diet alone.
The best way to make sure that you’re getting enough vitamin D is to take a daily vitamin D3 supplement. By supplementing your vitamin D intake, you can be sure that your body is getting the right amount of vitamin D and you’ll be less likely to become deficient.
How Much Vitamin D3 Should I Take Daily?
The NHS recommends that children and adults over the age of one should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day, especially during the winter months. This will help to ensure that you don’t become deficient in vitamin D.
If you have a baby under 1 who is formula fed, they will not need a separate vitamin D supplement as it is already added to formula milk. However, if your baby is breastfed, you should give them a vitamin D supplement.
What Foods Contain Vitamin D3?
Although sunlight is the main source of vitamin D3, it can also be found in a small range of foods. This includes certain fish such as swordfish, salmon and tuna, as well as egg yolks.
You’ll also find that some other foods are commonly fortified with vitamin D2 including orange juice, milk and yogurt. However, vitamin D2 is more difficult for your body to absorb that vitamin D3, so you’ll need to consume more of it to achieve the benefit.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin D3 Deficiency?
If you don’t have enough vitamin D in your body, you’re said to be deficient. The first symptoms that you may notice if you become deficient in vitamin D are fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness and mood changes such as depression.
If left untreated, vitamin D can also cause bone conditions such as osteoporosis or osteomalacia, depression, a weakened immune system, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic fatigue.
Try Vitamin D3 Supplements Today
Taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement can help to ensure that you don’t become deficient in vitamin D. This can help to keep your bones in the best possible health, along with minimising your risk of many health conditions.
If you’re ready to try vitamin D supplements, our soft gel vitamin D3 capsules are ideal. Derived from highly absorbent Cholecalciferol, our vitamin D3 supplements have been specially designed to provide you with the full effects of vitamin D in the most efficient way.