Most of us want more “Vitamin Sea” — but what we need is more Vitamin D
VITAMIN D BENEFITS
First comes the sneezing and the shivers. Then comes the sore throat, bad cough, and fever. You’re burning up, and you do exactly what your parents tell you to do all those years ago — you reach for a Vitamin C tablet or soluble. Though ascorbic acid — or “Vitamin Sea” — does strengthen your immune system and guard your body from malfunctioning every single time you get a cold, there is another vitamin in town that does an even better job at giving you a healthy boost.
We all know the benefits of Vitamin C — it’s been drilled in our heads from a young age. According to Mayo Clinic, it is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals (molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-Rays or other sources). Vitamin C also has a hand in helping your body absorb and store iron. This sounds like a hefty deal, so how is it possible that there is a more beneficial vitamin out there?
Along comes Vitamin D. Here’s what you need to know about this miracle vitamin: it has almost all the benefits that Vitamin C offers such as helping with the growth and development of bones and teeth, providing improved resistance to certain diseases, and reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Perhaps the most vital function of Vitamin D is regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus — nutrients that are needed to keep bones, muscles, and teeth healthy. This also means that consuming Vitamin D naturally leads to keeping bone deformities like rickets and osteomalacia at bay.
What else does Vitamin D do? Healthline declares that it decreases the chance of heart disease. A lack of Vitamin D — a nutrient that your body produces when it’s directly exposed to sunlight — have been linked to an increased risk of heart diseases like hypertension, heart failure, and even stroke. Besides that, ensuring you have your daily dose of Vitamin D (D1, D2, and D3) prevents severe illnesses. Healthline states on its website that while the research done on this matter is mixed, Vitamin D may have the power to reduce the likelihood of Influenza and Covid-19.
Indeed, Vitamin D should be a cornerstone nutrient in everybody’s diet, young or old, as it supports and builds the immune system. For those struggling with their mental health, here’s some good news: studies have shown that Vitamin D can regulate your mood and prevent depression.
As if that wasn’t enough, Vitamin D has gone to show that it might also support you in your weight loss journey. People with higher body weights, according to Healthline, have a bigger chance of having low Vitamin D levels. One study proved that people with obesity who were told to take on Vitamin D supplements in addition to adhering to a weight loss diet plan eventually lost even more weight than the members of the group that did not consume the supplements. This is because Vitamin D has an appetite-suppressing effect.
But what happens when you live in countries where there’s not enough sunlight? Or maybe you’re just a homebody? Fret not. You can actually claim some of those Vitamin D benefits through certain foods which include but are not limited to: oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolk, fortified foods like fat spreads and breakfast cereals, and in some countries, cow milk.
A Vitamin D deficiency shows itself in clear signs and symptoms. If you’re easily tired and fatigued, have body aches and pains, suffer from severe bone or muscle pain and weakness, go through stress fractures in your legs, pelvis, and hips, it’s best to go see your doctor and ask if your body is lacking in Vitamin D.
However, a good rule of thumb is to take Vitamin D in moderation. Take note that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, much unlike the water-soluble Vitamin C. This means that extra consumption of Vitamin C brings no additional benefits to the body as it immediately expels excess water when absorbed. It is quite the opposite for the “sunshine vitamin” which dissolves in fat and is stored in tissue.
According to the Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia 2017, adults (19-50years old) should be consume 15micrograms or 600IU of Vitamin D daily wheres for those above the age of 50years should consume 15-20micrograms or 800IU daily.
Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider before deciding on the amount of Vitamin D you will take — it varies for both children and adults. Overconsumption of Vitamin D, just like any other nutrient in your body, might lead to unwanted outcomes. According to the NHS, children and adults need no more than 10mg of Vitamin D a day, including pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as people at a risk of Vitamin D deficiency.