Vitamin D benefits
Vitamin D benefits are experienced to the fullest extent by people who maintain optimum vitamin D body stores and blood levels.
They can expect better health across the board – longer life (reduction in death from all causes), fewer diseases, stronger bones and muscles, fewer infections, less depression, pain and inflammation. In short, more enjoyment of life.
New vitamin D benefits are still being discovered, almost everywhere researchers look. Here are some of the more important ones discovered so far:
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus
The first intimation of vitamin D’s vital role was in 1782, when it was discovered that cod liver oil cures rickets (a disease of growing children whose bones bend due to lack of strength). Of course, they didn’t know then that it was vitamin D in the oil that did the job.
Vitamin D itself was isolated in the 1920’s, but for several decades, all that was known about its usefulness was that it prevented rickets.
In fact, vitamin D plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in their proper utilization. This helps keep our bones and teeth strong, and stops calcium depositing where it shouldn’t (for example in our blood vessels, heart and kidneys).
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system
Vitamin D helps the immune system to fight infections. With a near-optimum blood level of vitamin D, you can expect fewer colds, ‘flu, and other unwelcome opportunists (including Swineflu).
Not only does Vitamin D enhance your immunity, but it inhibits the development of destructive auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is a major inhibitor of cancer, and part of this effect may be attributed to the increased vigilance of the immune system.
Vitamin D promotes cellular differentiation
Vitamin D encourages cell differentiation (differentiated cells are needed to perform specialized functions effectively) and also slows down the rate at which cells multiply, or proliferate.
Both of these effects contribute to vitamin D’s cancer-fighting ability. Cancer cells are characterized by a lack of differentiation and by rapid proliferation.
Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is coming into prominent focus as a cause of many disease processes, including major killers such as heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which may also contribute to its effectiveness in reducing some types of muscular pain.
Vitamin D helps regulate blood sugar levels
Optimum levels of vitamin D protect against diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Diabetes is usually associated with very low levels of vitamin D.
The pancreas also needs sufficient vitamin D in order to make and secrete insulin.
Getting enough vitamin D helps blood sugar control. It may also help prevent serious diabetic complications.
Vitamin D helps lower blood pressure
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of hypertension. And optimum levels actually tend to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people.
Vitamin D protects against low-level nuclear radiation
Dr Daniel Hayes PhD describes many ways in which vitamin D may protect the body from the effects of low-level radiation, such as may occur after a nuclear accident. His paper was published in the International Journal of Low Radiation (Sept 2008)
It makes sense that a nutrient that requires you to expose yourself to strong sunlight would help protect against electromagnetic radiation, doesn’t it?.
With the disaster at Fukushima looming large in everyone’s mind, this is a very useful vitamin D benefit.
Vitamin D benefits, or helps prevent, diseases
Scientists are continually reporting that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with one disease after another. (High vitamin D levels may be protective.)
These diseases have all been linked to low vitamin D levels:
Bones weak (easy to fracture)
Cancer (all types)
Colds and ‘flu
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Dental cavities and misaligned teeth
Diabetes (types 1 and 2)
Low back pain
Mental illness and mood disorders
Muscle weakness and pain
Osteomalacia (softening of bones)
Peripheral artery disease
Pelvic floor disorders
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)