Thursday, August 21, 2014

How Vitamin D Helps Prevent Illness and Disease

Have you considered taking a vitamin D supplement? Have you done any research on the benefits it might provide? According to research, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. It also regulates blood levels of calcium and promotes bone and teeth mineralization.
Many people take vitamin D supplements without realizing that the best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Sunlight contributes to vitamin D levels by converting cholesterol-related vitamin D in the skin to an active form. When vitamin D is in the active form, it is able to perform the functions stated above. However, many people don't get the proper amount of vitamin D through their diet. Especially during the winter months, when there is less sunlight and people spend more time indoors due to the cold, it is worth considering whether to add a vitamin D supplement to your diet.
Vitamin D has a lot of health benefits, including:
Prevention of Rickets in Children. Rickets is a disease characterized by a bowing of the legs. It is seen in children, and is the result of a weight increase in tandem with a vitamin D deficiency. The bones are soft, and not strong enough to support the child's weight as it increases. Studies have shown that milk, a good source of calcium, enhances calcium absorption in the body when fortified with vitamin D. Rickets tends to be common in children who have an insufficient intake of fortified milk and when there is decreased exposure to sunlight.
Reduction of Osteomalacia Incidents. Osteomalacia is a condition where there is softening of the bones secondary to a deficiency in vitamin D, or a failure of the body to utilize vitamin D. This is commonly seen in adults.
Improved Neuromuscular Function. If you are vitamin D deficient, your neuromuscular functions can be impaired. Once impaired, you may be prone to neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and other disorders that involve the nerves that control the voluntary muscles.
Possible Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that involves the impairment of neuromuscular function. It is often characterized by a descending paralysis. Initially, people with MS suffer from muscle weakness, followed by loss of balance and difficulty in walking, or eventually the inability to walk. Severe cases of MS involve symptoms that debilitate the respiratory system. Increased vitamin D intake is thought, in some cases, to help prevent or lessen the neuromuscular impairment seen in MS.
Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, can be avoided through sufficient intake of vitamin D. IBD is a medical condition where there is an inflammation of the small intestines. According to research, the inflammation is brought about when calcium fails to activate gastric enzymes for metabolizing food and nutrients in the stomach. Non-metabolized food that goes to the small intestines creates pressure to the small intestines, resulting to inflammation. Since a function of vitamin D is calcium absorption and regulation, a sufficient amount of calcium also is dependent upon an adequate amount of vitamin D.
Prevent of Hypertension. One of the main functions of calcium is the prevention of hypertension. If you have an adequate amount of vitamin D, regulation of calcium levels improve and your chances of developing hypertension decrease.
The research into how Vitamin D helps with preventing illness and disease is developing every day. Just in the last 10 years, the research into what is an adequate amount of Vitamin D in our bodies has shown this particular vitamin holds great promise. If you are unsure about your Vitamin D levels, visit your doctor and request a test to determine the amount of Vitamin D in your body.
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