What is Vitamin D Good For

September 15, 2014 | By More

 

Today’s parents often find it hard to peel their kids off the couch, away from the television and their gadgets to play outdoors. Apart from increasing the risks for obesity and diabetes, this sedentary lifestyle, coupled with an unhealthy diet, can lead to another problematic situation: vitamin D deficiency.

 

Vitamin-D-is-not a VitaminThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC report that 32 percent of Americans have low vitamin D levels. On the other hand, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals that half of children aged between one and five and 70 percent of children aged between six and 11 are vitamin D deficient.

 

But what is vitamin D? What is vitamin D good for? and What does vitamin D do?

 

Unlike other vitamins (say, vitamin A or C), vitamin D is not actually a nutrient. Rather, it is a steroid hormone that is produced either through exposure to sunlight or through the use of supplements. Vitamin D aids the body in warding off various infections, most notably colds and flus, through its influence upon the genes related to a person’s immune system, which in turn fights bacteria and viruses. Numerous researchers have also found out that the vitamin, particularly vitamin D3, plays a significant role in preventing various chronic diseases including various types of cancers.

 

The vitamin is also beneficial to pregnant mothers and their babies. For one, vitamin D helps the fetus develop properly. Second, the vitamin contributes greatly to proper muscle function. Women with optimal levels of the vitamin can typically forgo the need to opt for a C-section.

 

The vitamin can also lower the risks for cardiovascular disease, protect against autoimmune diseases, keep asthma, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis at bay and aid in DNA repair as well as other metabolic processes.

 

The best way to increase your intake of vitamin D is to simply go outdoors and bask in the sunshine. Ideally, you should have your arms, legs, back and abdomen exposed to the sun in half the time that it will take you to get sunburn for about twice or thrice a week.

 

However, if the weather or the season does not permit you to go out, you can either use a tanning bed (preferably one that does not use magnetic ballasts) or take a vitamin D supplement. The dosage varies depending on one’s age. The Society Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee suggests that infants should have 400 to 1,000 IUs daily, children one year and older should have 600 to 1,000 IUs daily, and adults should have between 1,500 and 2,000 IUs per day. If you are keen on taking vitamin D supplements, you should also remember to increase your dosage of vitamin K2 which facilitates the absorption of calcium in bones and teeth and prevents calcification of arteries and soft tissues.

 

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What do you think about this topic? Have you had any experience with vitamin D supplements or deficiencies? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section and let your friends know about this article on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the social buttons you’ll find floating on the left of this article.

 

 

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