Potential Effects Of Vitamin D
Confer some protection against autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis. In a 2007 study using blood samples from more than 7 million military personnel, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that those with the highest blood levels of the vitamin were 62 percent less likely to develop MS than those with the lowest vitamin D levels.
Aids glucose and insulin metabolism. One study examined evidence linking abnormalities of glucose and insulin metabolism and vitamin D deficiency. One possible reason for the link may be the action of vitamin D's stimulation of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. More studies are needed, but vitamin D shows promise in the treatment of vitamin D-deficient individuals to prevent or treat diabetes.
Confer protective properties for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. There is accumulating evidence that the vitamin D exerts important physiological benefits in heart muscle cells, and blood vessel cells, both in the smooth muscle and inner endothelium lining the vessels. Low levels of vitamin D were associated with myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and calcific aortic stenosis (okay, this refers to hardening and narrowing of a major blood vessel).
Confer protective properties and treatment options against breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Again, research has been indicating a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cancer. For example, in one review of metastatic bone disease in breast cancer patients, the researchers advocated routine screening for vitamin D deficiency in general.
Okay, I think I've made my point.
While I can quote more research and possible actions of vitamin D, I hope we all can see that the sunshine vitamin is an important one. So, while our body does make the usable form of vitamin D from the sun we get, there are a few indicators we may not be getting enough. Here are a few clues that we may not have optimal levels of vitamin D in our body.
We're not out hunting and gathering. Instead, we're indoors at work, at a desk using a computer, driving instead of walking, etc.
We don't drink milk. Studies indicate that most of us are not drinking milk or enough milk, one of the major sources of fortified vitamin D. This includes our children, who are especially vulnerable during their growth years.
We're dark skinned. Dark skinned individuals need longer exposure for the sunshine vitamin to penetrate.
We're protecting ourselves from skin cancer with sunscreens. This is a good thing, so let's not stop. However, once again, sunscreens reduce the rays from penetrating our skin, hence reducing our body's ability to make vitamin D.
We're baby boomers and beyond. Ah, the aging process. This too reduces our body's ability to make the sunshine vitamin from the sun.
Next: What To Do About Vitamin D Deficiency