Some benefits of Vitamin D are likely something you've known for years, but do you know the recent discoveries? Read on to learn ...
by Dime Alexi, a registered nurse and a free-lance writer whose specialties include health issues
Most of us have been told of the benefits of Vitamin D during our elementary years with strong bones as being the most notable. Modern scientific research has uncovered many more benefits to the consumption of Vitamin D, which only underscores the fact that we must start eating more mackerel, tuna, salmon, eggs and liver. These benefits are even more important than strong bones in many aspects although we are not one to say that strong bones are not important in good health either.
Let's start with bone health, which is one of the most well-known benefits of Vitamin D. The nutrient works by allowing the body more effective and efficient absorption of calcium. Otherwise, the bones become brittle, weak and prone to fractures in the short-term while the long-term effects include osteoporosis and malformed bones. In children, Vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets.
Vitamin D deficiency in people with hypertension can be fatal although it must be emphasized that studies have yet to link cardiovascular problems in individuals without hypertension. But in people with high blood pressure, the risks for a cardiac attack are two times higher with vitamin D deficiency.
Yet another of the emerging benefits of Vitamin D that people must take notice of is in the treatment of breast cancer. Of course, Vitamin D in itself is not the cure for breast cancer but, instead, it improves on the prognosis. In one study, patients with a vitamin D deficiency had a 94% greater chance for metastases and a 73% greater chance for dying in the next years. But it is not only breast cancers that Vitamin D can help prevent - studies have shown that it also has preventive properties against colon and prostate cancers although the individual must be healthy, must exercise and must not be overweight.
The benefits of Vitamin D also extend to the mental aspect of health. Older men and women suffering from depression have experienced significant alleviation of their symptoms. Although the studies have yet to find the direct relation between Vitamin D and depression, it is definitely worth a try.
When women hit the menopause stage, weight gain becomes faster until the mid-60s are reached. Evidence has suggested that taking Vitamin D together with calcium supplements slows down the weight gain although we still suggest proper diet and exercise in maintaining a healthy weight.
Both adults and children require Vitamin D but children are at higher risk for its deficiency and, in the process, at higher risk for its complications, too. Children with vitamin D deficiency can suffer from Type I diabetes and asthma as well as rickets. Usually, the sun is an adequate source of vitamin D but with the environment being as it is now, it is necessary to eat more Vitamin D-rich foods and supplements.
If you are taking supplements, we also recommend looking at the nutritional supplements information to determine that the pill provides for the right amount of Vitamin D. Doctors suggest 400IU on a daily basis. At this amount, you can enjoy the benefits of Vitamin D to the fullest.
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