More and more research is showing the benefits and importance of vitamin D in maintaining optimal health. For years little attention was paid to this nutrient, but studies have shown that vitamin D is vital for so many functions in your body. The main function of vitamin is to help your bones absorb calcium and phosphorus, but this turned out to be the tip of the iceberg.
Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, is unique because it is produced by the body via sunshine, which is why it is called the sunshine vitamin. Some of the other benefits of this vitamin include improving the functioning of the immune system, helping in cognitive functioning, and helping with the cardiovascular system.
There is also promising news with relation to preventing or helping fight some diseases like cancer, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and protecting from radiation poisoning. Who knew this little vitamin could have so many health benefits without the high cost of most supplements.
A surprising fact is that a majority of people are deficient in vitamin D and are unaware of it. The daily amount of vitamin D needed is about 600 IU, which is up from 400 IU in the past. There is mounting research that shows there might be a need for higher doses than 600 IU daily. The only real way to find out if you are deficient is to have a blood test. Many health practitioners recommend over 1,000 IU daily.
While the most natural way of getting doses of vitamin D is from sunshine, there is the risk of too much sun exposure and skin cancer. People living near the Equator have higher exposures to sunlight and therefore should be getting plenty of vitamin D, while people in the northern hemisphere receive very little sunshine in the winter months and need to take a vitamin D supplement.
There are several types of vitamin D but the type you need to be taking is vitamin D3, because this type has shown the most promising results from testing. What is really great about getting vitamin D supplements is they are very cheap and there is not excuse for anyone being deficient in this powerful nutrient. Get a blood test and see if you are deficient in this vital vitamin.