Seeing the sun break through those clouds fills most of us with a sudden sense of euphoria. Sunny days see us all crowding into streets, parks, backyards, and just basically anywhere we can be outdoors! Why is that, though? Because your body actually NEEDS that sunlight to keep functioning right, and that’s its way of telling you to hey, seize the day and make the most of that delicious golden elixir.
You’ve probably been told that Vitamin D is good for you, and that it’s found in sunlight. We’re going to tell you exactly WHY and HOW, so you’ll know just how important it is for you to get out there!
So now on to the technical stuff. Vitamin D isn’t just a single vitamin, it’s a family – a fat-soluble family including vitamins D1, D2 and D3. Your body produces it in response to sunlight, and it plays an absolutely vital role – it’s even thought to affect as many as 2000 genes in the human body.
So tell us what it does for us, already.
Your body needs Vitamin D to help it absorb calcium, so it is absolutely essential for bone health and for growth – so you want to make sure your children and elderly family members get plenty of sunshine, too! If your body doesn’t get enough Vitamin D, it can cause a host of problems – rickets for children, and a variety of conditions in adults such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis and arthritis, all of which lead to fragile and vulnerable bones.
And that’s not all. It also helps regulate your immune system, which means that deficiencies can lead to dangerous health disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac problems, obesity and depression. There may even be a link between Vitamin D deficiency and various cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Good doses of Vitamin D have even been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis and the common cold!
So sunlight’s a bit scarce around here. How can I make sure I’m getting enough?
Make the MOST out of sunlight! Even 15 minutes of exposure is enough to produce enough Vitamin D for an entire day. But you can also find Vitamin D in various foods. It occurs naturally in egg yolks, shrimp, sardines, salmon and liver, and you can get milk, margarine, cereal, yoghurt, orange juice and soy drinks that have been fortified with Vitamin D.
So there you go – now you know why D is one of the most important Vitamins! If you’re still worried about getting enough, it may be a good idea to take Vitamin D supplements to stay on the safe side.