Vitamin D, also known as vitamin D3 and cholecalciferol, is a very important vitamin that can function like a hormone on every cell in the body. It’s made by the body from cholesterol when a person’s skin is exposed to the sun. However 42% of adults in the United States are deficient.
1. Improves Mood and Depression
Depression is the leading cause of disability among young Americans and low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a greater risk for depression.1 Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to improve depression.2,3
A 2013 observational study found a 49% lower suicide risk in people with normal levels of vitamin D compared to people with low levels.4
In a meta-analysis of 7 randomized and controlled trials, researchers concluded that vitamin D supplementation may be effective in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with clinically significant depression.5
Researchers in a 2008 randomized double-blind trial on 441 participants concluded that vitamin D supplementation appears to alleviate depressive symptoms.6
Vitamin D may help improve the symptoms of depression.
2. Thyroid Health
Normal levels of thyroid hormone are required for maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be associated with hypothyroidism in a 2013 study.7 Additionally, patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders have low levels of vitamin D and researchers claim vitamin D supplementation may improve symptoms.8
Researchers in another study concluded that vitamin D deficiency was significantly associated with autoimmune thyroid disease in pre-menopausal women.9
Vitamin D may improve thyroid health in people with low vitamin D levels.
3. Helps Lower Blood Sugar
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to have a negative effect on the cells that produce insulin called beta cells. Additionally, vitamin D has been shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity.10,11,12
Researchers in a 2008 study concluded that normal vitamin D levels provide protection against developing type 2 diabetes.13
Vitamin D may help lower blood sugar by improving beta cell function and insulin sensitivity.
4. Immune Health
A 2015 meta-analysis of 15 studies involving a total of 3,998 patients found that a low vitamin D level was significantly associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis.15 Another review and meta-analysis concluded that vitamin D supplementation may be useful as a combination therapy in patients with tuberculosis.16
Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to be associated with a higher risk of mortality in patients with AIDS.17
In another study, researchers found that vitamin D can improve T cell function and they concluded that vitamin D is a key factor in increasing immunity.18
Vitamin D may help increase the strength and activity of the immune system.
5. Stronger Bones
Vitamin D deficiency is a major cause of osteoporosis.19 Additionally vitamin D supplementation may help increase bone mineral density and when supplemented with calcium it can decrease fracture risk.20
Researchers have also found that vitamin D supplementation is effective at preventing bone loss in post-menopausal women.21
Vitamin D may help improve bone strength by increasing bone mineral density.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that may help improve thyroid health, blood sugar levels, immune system function and mood in addition to other benefits.*
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