One cannot live without the benefits of vitamin D because its virtues are essential for good health. But do you know how to get your daily dose? Follow the guide!
Vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is produced by our body through direct exposure to sunlight. It is also found in milk, some dairy products, and some breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D.
A Better Pregnancy For Mom and Baby
Expectant mothers with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy are at a higher risk of suffering from life-threatening high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia). Premature birth or having a low birth weight baby. And it doesn’t stop there. According to Dr Holick, mothers who lack vitamin D are more likely to give birth by caesarean section and more at risk of infections.
Vitamin D is crucial for mothers because he says that vitamin D receptors in the uterine muscle can strengthen contractions during labour. Vitamin D can also boost the mother’s and baby’s immunity. But, how much vitamin D does a pregnant woman need?
According to one study, women who took high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy had a much lower risk of complications. So, ask your doctor if it would be better for you to take supplements.
To Prevent Obesity
Researchers at the University of Southern California also report that vit D deficiency in pregnant women can predispose their children to obesity. For example, six-year-olds born to mothers who lacked vitamin D in the first trimester of pregnancy had a larger waist circumference than children whose mothers had had had enough. According to the study, these children also had 2 per cent more body fat. It can be considered as healthy weight gain.
“These differences may seem negligible. But a simple half-inch increase in waist circumference has a significant impact. Especially if you extrapolate the effects of that excess fat throughout their lives.”
To Strengthen Your Lungs
Dr Holick says that children born to vit D deficient mothers are more likely to suffer from asthma and other respiratory disorders. “We know that adequate vit D levels help build a strong immune system and that the mother’s immunity is passed on to her child during pregnancy and beyond.”
To Avoid Diabetes
Children who receive enough vitamin D in their first year of life are less likely to develop juvenile diabetes later or type 1 diabetes. For example, research shows that children who received 2,000 IU of D per day in their first year of life were 88% less likely to become diabetic over the next 30 years.
And it has been proven that a sufficiently high level of vitamin D can also protect against type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease most closely linked to obesity. “Men and women who consume the most calcium and vit D see their risk of developing type 2 diabetes drop by 33 per cent,” says Dr Holick.
One possible explanation for this protection is beta cells in the pancreas. Which secrete insulin and have vitamin D receptors. This nutrient helps these cells produce insulin and control blood sugar levels sufficiently.
To Guard Against Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are rising, and vitamin D deficiency may be the cause. Dr Holick says that research has linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and lupus. Because vitamin D binds to receptors in the immune system. It helps the immune system do its job more effectively, recognising and repelling dangerous invaders, not attacking healthy, normal tissue. Which is the definition of an autoimmune problem.
To Have Better Bones
Vitamin D and calcium work together to build bones and keep them healthy. “Vit D helps the calcium do its job, and without it, our bones become fragile,” says nutritionist David Friedman, author of Food Sanity: How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction. Two common bone diseases are caused by the lack of vit D: rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults). They both lead to diffuse body pain, muscle weakness and bone fragility,” he says. Are you getting enough?
To Prevent Breast Cancer
The research is pretty detailed, says Dr Holick: Adequate vit D levels can reduce the risk of breast cancer. “Sun exposure and vitamin D levels during the early years of adulthood will reduce the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.” According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Women with high exposure to the sun are half as likely to develop breast cancer as women with little sun exposure.
To Reduce the Risk Of Other Cancers
Vitamin D doesn’t just protect us from breast cancer, adds Dr Holick. Research suggests that adequate levels may reduce the risk of colorectal, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer, to name a few. For example, a study of 34,000 adults found that those with high vit D levels reduced their risk of developing cancer by 20%.
To Keep a Healthy Heart
“This one is huge,” warns Dr Holick: “There are 200 genes in the cardiovascular system regulated by vitamin D,” he says. Some studies indicate that this vitamin prevents cholesterol from clogging the arteries. Find more tips to lower cholesterol levels.
He points out that this nutrient can also “regulate blood pressure and improve the functioning of heart cells.” In addition, new research shows that vitamin D3 can repair damage to the cardiovascular system caused by diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
It is also found that many patients who had a heart attack showed vitamin D3 deficiency. “This does not mean that the impairment caused the heart attack. But that it increased the risk of it,” says Dr Tadeusz Malinski, lead author of a study on the subject.
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