Surprising reasons to top up with Vitamin D
Posted on October 08 2019
You probably know that Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is great for your bones. But it also has a number of lesser-known (but just as important) effects on your body. Unless you live with all-round sunshine, it’s likely you need a boost of this beneficial vitamin. Here’s some surprising reasons you should stay on top of your intake.
Chronic inflammation is a problem that can really disrupt your body. This kind of inflammation is usually the result of an immune system imbalance, but can be caused by a combination of factors. It’s also tied to pretty much every health problem out there, inside and outside your body. Vitamin D is one way you can ensure you stay in optimal health and prevent inflammation from becoming a problem. If you don’t get enough of this essential vitamin, chances are, inflammatory issues will rear their head.1 Chronic inflammation can result in problems with your digestion, joints, and skin, to name just a few. If you want to prevent inflammation from getting out of hand, it’s key to stay topped up with Vitamin D.
Soothe your stomach
The anti-inflammatory effects of Vitamin D can also do your stomach a favour. It turns out that Vitamin D may actually play a role in moderating your immune system’s inflammatory reactions, which is good news if you struggle with digestive problems. Vitamin D may help the immune system to reduce overproduction of inflammatory proteins, so it’s recommended to help control intestinal inflammation.2 Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help manage digestive disruption, as well as to reduce complications related to bowel problems, such as surgeries or infections.
Increase your immunity
Vitamin D can help protect your body against plenty of other health issues too. This is because there are vitamin D receptors all over your body, from your intestines to your brain to your immune cells. Vitamin D plays a role in activating certain ones called T-cells. These are a type of immune cell that hunts down and eliminates germs and other pathogens so they’re pretty important when it comes to fending off viruses and infections.3 Vitamin D also ‘switches on’ key peptides in your immune system that trigger an anti-microbial response. This allows you to quickly and effectively fight off invaders before they can develop into a full-blown infection. So if you want to keep your immune system performing optimally, make sure to get enough vitamin D either through food, sun, or supplements.
Improve your mood
Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that helps your body make neurotransmitters, which are basically chemical messengers that regulate mood. Although the way vitamin D works within the brain isn’t fully understood, there’s plenty of research to show that a deficiency can impact your mood for the worse. It’s thought that Vitamin D levels can affect parts of the brain that govern learning, memory, and mood, with low levels associated with negative mood and psychological difficulties.4
Vitamin D is a must-have during the colder winter months. As the nights get longer and darker, your mood might change, and this might be in line with the levels of vitamin D you’re getting. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder featuring depressive symptoms, occurs during the dark times of the year when there’s a lack of sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D3, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain.5
What to remember
While all nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining your health, vitamin D is especially important as it’s needed for pretty much every single bodily system and function going. When it comes to the sunshine vitamin, there’s plenty of underrated benefits you can make the most of if you get enough. Not only is it vital for healthy bones, but vitamin D plays one of the most essential roles in nourishing your body, preventing acute and chronic disease, and maintaining your overall health. Overall, it’s important to get enough vitamin D whether through sun, supplements or sustenance to keep your body and mind healthy all year long.
1 Liu, W., Zhang, L., Xu, H. J., Li, Y., Hu, C. M., Yang, J. Y., & Sun, M. Y. (2018). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Vitamin D in Tumorigenesis. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(9), 2736.
2 Gubatan J, Moss AC. Vitamin D in inflammatory bowel disease: more than just a supplement. Current opinion in gastroenterology. 2018;34(4):217–25.
3 Aranow C. (2011). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 59(6), 881–886.
4 Anjum, I., Jaffery, S. S., Fayyaz, M., Samoo, Z., & Anjum, S. (2018). The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review. Cureus, 10(7), e2960. doi:10.7759/cureus.2960
5 Frandsen, T. B., Pareek, M., Hansen, J. P., & Nielsen, C. T. (2014). Vitamin D supplementation for treatment of seasonal affective symptoms in healthcare professionals: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial. BMC research notes, 7, 528.