Vitamins are essential nutrients that our bodies are typically unable to synthesise, but vitamin D is a special exception to the rule. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at what you should know about vitamin D, including the link between vitamin D and COVID, vitamin D pregnancy benefits, and the best vitamin D supplement.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a vitamin that is fat soluble and is responsible for increasing the intestines’ ability to absorb a range of nutrients. There are several different vitamins in the D group, though the most important ones for humans are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D isn’t exactly an essential nutrient because it doesn’t necessarily need to be absorbed through nutritional sources. The body is capable of synthesising vitamin D using UVB radiation, which comes into contact with the skin whenever we’re exposed to the sun.
Another difference between vitamin D and other vitamins is that it is dependent on a biologically inactive process. The only required method of activation is a process of hydroxylation. The first of these proteins is processed in the liver while the second process occurs in the kidneys.
All of this means that vitamin D is technically not a vitamin and instead a hormone. The active form of vitamin D as a hormone is calcitriol. Between the 1910s and the 1920s, vitamin D was discovered because of its ability to help prevent rickets. Interestingly, it was originally called “vitamin A.”
What is Vitamin D Good For?
One of the more recent vitamin D benefits that have been discovered is its ability to help reduce the risk of depression and to improve the taker’s mood. For example, a study that reviewed over 7000 people showed that vitamin D supplements could help reduce their mental symptoms.
Keep in mind that vitamin D doesn’t only help with an improvement in a subject’s mood when they’re dealing with anxiety and depression on their own. A separate study went over fibromyalgia patients who were experiencing mental distress because of the disease, and vitamin D was able to help in that case, as well.
Increased Weight Loss
One of the first findings that supported vitamin D’s potential to improve weight loss results was a study that discovered that people with lower vitamin D levels are more likely to have a higher body weight. That very same study confirmed its findings by conducting a test in which one group took vitamin D supplements after a weight loss diet and another group took a placebo.
The group that took the vitamin D supplements were shown to lose more weight than the group that took the placebo. The scientists that conducted the study believed that vitamin D helped suppress the test subjects’ appetites. However, the scientists also stated that extra research was needed to confirm the findings.
Vitamin D and Disease
Vitamin D has also been shown to have a significant effect on various diseases, including MS. One review noted that if subjects had a lower level of vitamin D, they had a higher chance of contracting MS. Aside from MS, vitamin D has been shown to reduce the likelihood of heart disease.
Hypertension, strokes, and heart failure have all been associated with low levels of vitamin D. One interesting potential benefit of vitamin D is that it may be able to reduce the likelihood of acute respiratory distress syndrome because of COVID-19, therefore reducing the chances of severe infection.
How Much Vitamin D Should I Take?
The recommended intake of vitamin D per day is between 10 and 20 micrograms, but doctors have discovered that larger amounts may be needed to ensure healthy levels of the vitamin in the bloodstream. The revised amount is between 25 and 100 micrograms, depending on sunlight exposure.
How Much Vitamin D per Day for a Woman?
Unlike other vitamins, the amount of vitamin D that women should take per day doesn’t differ that much between men and women. About 15 micrograms per day is recommended, but under revised estimates, that number could reach 50 micrograms per day, especially for older women.
Can You Overdose on Vitamin D?
Vitamin D overdose is rare but not impossible, especially with extremely high doses of the vitamin. This is because vitamin D can build up in our bodies instead of being removed through the urinary tract. While it’s unlikely that this can happen through sunlight exposure or food, it is possible to take too much of a vitamin D supplement.
Is Vitamin D3 the Same as Vitamin D?
Vitamin D3 is known as cholecalciferol, and it is one of two D vitamins that humans need, alongside vitamin D2. While vitamin D3 is a D vitamin, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a D vitamin will be vitamin D3.