Vitamin D is the superstar of all vitamins, playing a major role in the bodily functions—including sexual wellbeing and hormone production. As any healthcare provider like the best internal medicine doctor in karachi would tell you, vitamin D deficiency, especially later on in life, is linked to many adverse health problems.
Conversely, supplementing it in the diet leads to decreased risk of disease. Read on to know more about the many advantages of vitamin D:
Benefits of vitamin D
1. Better bone health
Vitamin D plays a crucial a role in the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus and minerals that are vital for maintaining healthy bones. vitamin D is converted by kidneys to its active form, which is responsible for absorbing calcium from the intestines. Therefore, sufficient amounts of vitamin D are needed for the typical growth and development of bones and teeth. Without Vitamin D and calcium, bones weaken and have poor mineral density. In fact, vitamin D deficiency in children leads to bowed legs, a condition known as rickets. Similarly, in adults vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia and in women approaching menopause, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.
2. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
Research data shows link between low vitamin D levels and high risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, hypertension and especially heart failure. The exact relation between vitamin D levels and heart disease is not understood yet, however, improving the serum levels of the vitamin improves the outcome of these chronic health conditions.
3. Decreased risk of disease severity
In times of covid-19, better serum vitamin D levels showed less severe disease trajectory. In fact, even flu and other viral illnesses showed attenuated response with adequate vitamin D levels. A 2018 review found that vitamin D played protective role against influenza virus, the severe form of which can be life-threatening, particularly in the elderly.
In addition, research reviews showed low levels of vitamin D linked with higher incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
4. Healthy pregnancy
The protective role of vitamin D extends to pregnant females. In women who have some form of vitamin D deficiency, there is predisposition to gestational diabetes, bacterial vaginosis, preeclampsia and preterm labor.
Moreover, the effect of inadequate vitamin D extends to the baby, with risk of food allergies in the first two years of the child’s life.
4. Improved immune health
In people who lack vitamin D there is increased predisposition to bacterial and viral infections. In addition, such people also have increased incidence of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Healthy children
In children who lack adequate vitamin D, there is risk of arterial wall thickness, which predisposes them to high blood pressure.
Additionally, there is evidence to link low vitamin D levels and increased allergic sensitization, according to data from The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). An added effect of vitamin D is to enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of endogenous glucocorticoids, which is potentially useful in children with steroid-resistant form of asthma.
6. Mood regulation
Another important effect of vitamin D is on mood regulation and depression. Vitamin D plays an important role in decreasing the risk of mental illnesses like depression and generalized anxiety. Research review shows people taking vitamin D supplements noticed vast improvement in mood and depression and other negative symptoms.
7. Weight loss
Individuals with higher body mass index (BMI), are likely to have low vitamin D levels, in comparison to people with normal vitamin D levels. Case-control studies show obese people who receive vitamin D supplements lose more weight and total body fat, than those who receive a placebo.
This suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplements have an appetite-suppressing effect, thereby improving satiety and preventing overeating.
If one is diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, a healthcare provider at Agha Khan Univeristy Hospital would prescribe taking vitamin D supplements.