Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin D (Know the Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin D

Vitamin D comprises a group of fat-soluble compounds that are essential for maintaining the mineral balance in the body.

The vitamin D form synthesized in humans is called cholecalciferol.

Cholecalciferol is synthesized in the skin by the action of ultraviolet light, and it is also recognized as an essential dietary nutrient.

It is estimated that 60% of adults living in the U.S are deficient in vitamin D. You might be surprised to find out that vitamin D deficiency is not just a problem for kids and teens, it can also affect both adults and old people.

Every person needs a certain level of vitamin D in their blood to be healthy. But, what exactly does your body need this vitamin for?.

In this article, we will explore it’s importance in regulating many functions of the human body and how vitamin D can help with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

You will also learn more about why your blood needs vitamin D, what health implications it has, and how you can protect yourself from possible consequences of a deficiency.

What is vitamin D and what does it do in the blood?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that helps in the metabolism and absorption of phosphorus, and calcium inside the human body.

There are five different types of vitamin D been discovered. These particular types are: vitamin D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5.

The most important ones are vitamin D3, called cholecalciferol, and vitamin D2 also known as ergocalciferol. Both of them are usually ingested through food and supplements.

Ergocalciferol is human-made. It is
also added to foodstuffs and we can find it in fortified foods or in
dietary supplements.

The main deference between ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol is in their side chain structure.

On the other hand, cholecalciferol is made by the body and more specific in the skin when the sunlight exposure is adequate.

Benefits and functions of vitamin D in the blood

Emerging science reveals that, a non-skeletal benefit of vitamin D has several health outcomes.

A sufficient intake of vitamin D is important as it helps the body to:

  • Maintain healthy calcium and phosphate blood levels
  • Build and maintain healthy bones
  • Control cell division
  • Modulate the immune system

There are many ongoing studies regarding vitamin D. Researchers have found that vitamin D can be used for treating:

  • Psoriasis
  • Hypertension
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Migraines
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease

Is vitamin D good for your blood?

Yes. Vitamin D, not only good for the skin but also your blood as well. Here the reasons why your blood needs this essential nutrient.

Bone disorders

Adequate amounts of vitamin D in combination with exercise, proper
nutrition, calcium, and magnesium are necessary for building up and maintaining bones and preventing bone loss. Vitamin D is needed to properly absorb calcium.

Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D and calcium leads to osteoporosis.

Calcium, together with vitamin D, has been shown to help heal bone fractures from osteoporosis, and decrease the risk of future bone breaks.

Vitamin D has beneficial effect on muscle function and strength, and thereby reduces the risk of falling.

Moreover, vitamin D is well known to protect against rickets and osteomalacia, diseases of severe vitamin deficiency.

Summary: Long-term shortages of vitamin D and calcium cause your bones to become fragile and break more easily. This condition is also known as osteoporosis. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium from foods will help maintain healthy bones and blood

Cancer

Studies have indicated that vitamin D may have anti-cancer effects, while clinical study findings on vitamin D and specific cancers such as colorectal cancer have been inconsistent.

However, some studies have shown strong evidence that high doses of vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

In addition, some population studies have suggested that vitamin D supplements may improve survival rates in those with a history of breast cancer.

Other studies indicated that vitamin D3 supplementation might be effective in treating skin cancer. However, this research is still in the experimental stages.

Heart disease

Vitamin D is important for a healthy heart, blood vessels, and for normal blood pressure. Some studies show that vitamin D supplements might help reduce blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Other studies show no benefits.

If you are overweight, taking vitamin D at doses above 20 mcg per day plus calcium might actually raise your blood pressure.

Overall, clinical trials find that vitamin D supplements do not reduce the risk of developing heart disease, even if you have low blood levels of the vitamin.

Type 2 diabetes

Vitamin D helps your body regulate blood sugar levels. However, clinical trials in people with and without diabetes show that supplemental vitamin D does not improve blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, or hemoglobin A1c levels.

Other studies show that vitamin D supplements don’t stop most people with prediabetes from developing diabetes.

Dietary sources of vitamin D

Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in the diets of people.

Vitamin D found in food is rare. The richest natural sources of vitamin D are:

  • Fish liver oils
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel

Foods that provides little sources of vitamin D:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms

Plants are poor sources, with fruit and nuts containing no vitamin D at all.

What about dietary vitamin D supplements?

Vitamin D is found in multivitamin supplements. It is also available in dietary supplements containing only vitamin D or vitamin D combined with a few other nutrients.

The two forms of vitamin D in supplements are ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol.

Both forms increase vitamin D in your blood, but D3 might raise it higher and for longer than D2.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with a meal that includes some fat.

Are you getting enough vitamin D in your blood?

Because you get vitamin D from food, sunshine, and dietary supplements, one way to know if you’re getting enough is a blood test that measures the amount of vitamin D in your blood.

In the blood, a form of vitamin D known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D is measured in either nanomoles per liter (nmol/L).

Most people have adequate blood levels of vitamin D, however, almost one out of four people have vitamin D levels that are too low for bone and overall health.

Some people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin D:

  • Breastfed infants
  • Older adults
  • People who seldom expose their skin to sunshine
  • People with dark skin
  • People with celiac disease that limits fat absorption
  • People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery

How much vitamin D do you need?

The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms:

  • Birth to 12 months: 10 mcg
  • Children 1–13 years: 15 mcg
  • Teens 14–18 years: 15 mcg
  • Adults 19–70 years: 15 mcg
  • Adults 71 years+: 20 mcg
  • Pregnant women: 15 mcg

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D in your blood?

In children, vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, a disease in which the bones become soft, weak, deformed, and painful.

In teens and adults, vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia, a disorder that causes bone pain and muscle weakness.

Does vitamin D supplements interact with other medications?

Yes, vitamin D supplements may interact with some medicines. Here are several examples:

  • Orlistat
  • Atorvastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Simvastatin
  • Prednisone
  • Thiazide diuretics

Is vitamin D harmful to the blood?

Yes, getting too much vitamin D can be harmful. Very high levels of vitamin D in your blood can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Kidney stones

High levels of vitamin D are caused by consuming excessive amounts of vitamin D from dietary supplements. The daily upper limits for vitamin D are listed below in micrograms:

  • Birth to 6 months: 25 mcg
  • Infants 7–12 months: 38 mcg
  • Children 1–3 years: 63 mcg
  • Children 4–8 years: 75 mcg
  • Children 9–18 years: 100 mcg
  • Adults 19 years+: 100 mcg
  • Pregnant women: 100 mcg

Conclusion

Your blood needs vitamin D to work properly. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and skin.

A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to health problems including weak bones, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and an increased risk of infection.

If you’re concerned about vitamin D levels in your blood, there are plenty of foods that are rich in this essential nutrient.

You can also take vitamin D dietary supplement to provide adequate amounts.

Make sure you follow the daily recommended allowance to avoid excessive intakes.

Certain medications interfere with vitamin D supplements so always check your medicines for instructions before you take them.

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