Where do you spend most of your days? In big cities, most people stay indoors, whether at work or home. The fact is that exposure to the sun is increasingly rare, and the result appears in doctors’ offices: many patients suffer the consequences of a lack of vitamin D.
But what is vitamin D anyway? What is it for? What are the consequences of its deficiency for the body? That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. So read on and discover why this hormone is important to our health. Check out!
Vitamin D — What Substance Is This?
What do you think of when you hear the word “vitamin”? Generally, we remember substances that benefit the body, help avoid diseases, and are obtained through food.
This happens with vitamin A, present in carrots, spinach and mango, among other vegetables. Vitamin C is also very well known and found mainly in citrus fruits, acerola, guava, kiwi, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, etc.
However, vitamin D is different. It is a steroid hormone. Unlike other important nutrients for the body, food sources of vitamin D are scarce. This means providing the body with optimal levels of this substance through food alone is very difficult.
So how can we ensure that our body receives the optimal amount of vitamin D? The answer lies in a very rich natural remedy, but which we have learned to run away from – the sun. For years, exposure to sunlight was discouraged due to the effect of ultraviolet rays and their potential to cause the dreaded skin cancer.
However, exposure to sunlight is the main way to ensure the supply of vitamin D that the body needs. When ultraviolet rays hit our skin, they trigger the synthesis process of this hormone. Thus, a population that hides during the day or uses sunscreen will naturally have low levels of this substance.
Functions Of Vitamin D—Is It Important For Health?
Until recently, it was believed that the benefits of vitamin D were primarily related to the health of bones and teeth. However, recent studies show this hormone has several other functions and affects the entire organism.
According to Dr Abigail Ballone, who developed a complete work related to Lifestyle Medicine, “there are receptors for vitamin D in all organs of the body. So, it affects from the mind, the emotional state of people, to physical issues such as cardiovascular health, blood pressure and immunity”.
She also points out that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels prevents several diseases. Here are some of the main problems that this substance prevents or contributes to preventing from developing in the body:
- Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption and helps maintain proper phosphate concentration. Thus, the organism has the perfect conditions to mineralize the bones.
- Among other benefits, vitamin D improves the body’s ability to secrete (produce) insulin and cells’ response to this substance. Thus, people with adequate vitamin D levels have a lower risk of developing diabetes.
- Vitamin D is also an ally in the slimming process by regulating insulin production and absorption. It helps the body maintain stable glucose levels, which allows a person to have a reduction in their appetite.
- Vitamin D acts on the respiratory system, preventing infectious diseases and asthma.
- Studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular problems doubles when a person has low vitamin D levels.
- Some publications address the direct relationship between a lack of vitamin D and the occurrence of depression.
- Vitamin D interacts with the immune system, helping to regulate and differentiate defense cells (lymphocytes, macrophages and natural killers). Therefore, it helps to prevent and control autoimmune diseases: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Lack Of Vitamin D — What Are The Consequences?
After understanding the different functions of vitamin D, you have certainly realized that its lack brings a series of damages to the body.
Therefore, vitamin D insufficiency is currently considered a public health problem. It is estimated that around 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in this hormone. The seriousness of the problem is because, without adequate levels of this substance, the population is more likely to develop a series of diseases.
In addition to increasing the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, rickets (in children) and obesity, there are other problems associated with a lack of vitamin D. Here are some examples:
- Crohn’s disease;
- tiredness and muscle weakness;
- thin, fragile and deformed bones;
- the flu;
It is also worth noting that a lack of vitamin D increases the likelihood of developing all types of cancer. Studies with women show that when the patient has an adequate amount of this hormone in the organism, the cancer risks decrease between 50% and 77% – a very significant percentage.
The biggest surprise is related to skin cancer. In the past, the recommendation was to avoid the sun to avoid melanomas, but current studies show that moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to prevent this disease.
Many people are still afraid of sunlight due to the risk of cancer. However, as explained in another article, the sun is not a villain but a true natural remedy. To enjoy its benefits, we need to learn to limit the exposure time according to our individual needs, which are mainly determined by the color of our skin.
Also Read: Vitamin A: The Health Benefits