Supplement lovers have been raving about vitamin C and E for the longest time. It is time to make way for a new favourite! Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because your body naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists as either vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). One of the main roles of vitamin D is to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. This keeps our bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Vitamin D can help support your immune system by fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses. Research has shown that vitamin D is involved in the activation of T-cells. Helper T-cells stimulate B-cells to make antibodies and killer T-cells directly kill cells that have already been infected by a foreign invader. T-cells send chemical instructions to the rest of the immune system to ramp up its response.
Research has shown that there is a link between vitamin D and depression. Studies have shown that people with low vitamin D run a higher risk of being depressed. Do you experience the winter blues? A lack of sunlight leads to lower serotonin levels which is the hormone responsible for your mood, sleep and appetite. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and can be treated with vitamin D supplements. Have your daily dose of vitamin D and don’t let the dark gloomy weather get you down!
It can help prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children. Osteoporosis refers to the softening of bones and is one of the main causes of fractures and broken bones. Women who are past menopause are at the highest risk of osteoporosis. Symptoms include; declining height, back pain and unexpected bone fracture. Vitamin D is crucial in preventing bone diseases.
Where to get your daily dose
As winter approaches we struggle to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure. Vitamin D does not occur in a lot of foods naturally. Luckily, some foods are fortified which means vitamin D is added to them. Here are some foods that contain vitamin D:
- Egg Yolk
- Cod Liver Oil
- Orange Juice
Myth buster – vitamin D for weight loss?
In recent years, there has been a surge in vitamin D research. One study showed that people taking a daily vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than participants taking a placebo supplement. However, research also points towards the fact that lower vitamin D seems to be a consequence of weight gain and not a cause. Therefore, taking supplements won’t necessarily aid your weight loss journey.
Daily Dose is our weekly segment where we explore a new vitamin or mineral. Watch this space to read our myth busters where we explore common misconceptions about vitamins and minerals, the benefits of vitamins and minerals and to find out what foods you need to consume to be your happiest and healthiest!
By Pooja Depala