Are you getting enough vitamin D? If you are, then you belong to the privileged half of the global population. According to studies, 50% of people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency, while about 1 billion have vitamin D deficiency.
If you lack this element, you might consider increasing your intake through foods rich in vitamin D, or supplements. Read on to find out why it is so beneficial.
Why is vitamin D important?
It needs no special introduction, since it has been in focus lately, especially in the context of the COVID 19 pandemics.
Most of us are aware of vitamin D’s importance for our skeletal system and teeth, thanks to its ability to maximize the absorption and use of calcium. It is also known to be beneficial for muscle, heart, and lungs health.
Yet, there is so much more to this powerful vitamin than we can imagine. Scientists keep discovering its new fascinating properties with incredible implications for our health.
Vitamin D and urinary health
Are late night trips to the toilet becoming a nuisance? One of the latest discoveries is the impact of vitamin D on the bladder function and some common urinary problems such as pelvic floor disorders, urinary incontinence, or overactive bladder .
Recent reviews of several past studies have demonstrated a strong link between sufficient Vitamin D intake and good urinary health.
On top of everything else we have learned about vitamin D, this may sound unbelievable, but there is a clear explanation. The muscle which contracts to allow urine out of the bladder contains vitamin D receptors. Consequently, vitamin D can help strengthen this and other muscles in and around the pelvic floor.
Moreover, a study from 2019 found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Vitamin D could be important for COVID 19
Vitamin D is famous for its immune-boosting properties. However, some recent findings shed new light on its ability to fight even the coronavirus.
It has long been known that vitamin D deficiency significantly correlates with the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but now we know more about the mechanisms through which it helps our immune system fight off the disease.
When the virus enters our body, its protein spikes attach to a protein on the surface of our cells. The virus then hijacks the host cell’s protein-making machinery to translate its RNA into new copies of the virus. In just hours, a single cell can be forced to produce tens of thousands of new virus particles, which then infect other healthy cells.
Enter vitamin D! Recent studies discovered that its metabolites can inhibit replication machinery enzymes of COVID 19 virus, thus hindering the infection and reducing its severity.
Another way in which the virus can hurt us is the occurrence of the so-called cytokine storm. Cytokines are small glycoproteins produced by various types of cells throughout the body. When released, cytokines can promote a wide range of functions. One of those functions is in response to inflammation. If this response is uncontrollable, a cytokine storm occurs. When this happens, various inflammatory cytokines are produced at a much higher rate than normal, thus allowing for more immune cells to be recruited. This can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which has accounted for a significant number of deaths from SARS-CoV-2.
Vitamin D however seems to modulates our immune response and prevents severe autoimmune reactions. While there are other ways to treat and suppress cytokine storms, proper and timely use of vitamin D might actually help prevent them. More research is necessary, but the results so far are promising.
Fight D-ficiency with these foods
One of the most common ways to get this crucial vitamin for our bodies is by exposure to the sun. Experts say that exposing a good amount of your skin to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes is the best way to activate vitamin D. Especially during the strongest sun hours of the day, which are typically 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can also get vitamin D from various foods. The best choice is salmon, preferably wild, rather than farmed. A 3.5 ounce (100 grams) piece of Atlantic salmon should provide 526 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which is 66% of the daily value. Other sources include tuna, sardines, eggs, mushrooms, and vitamin D-fortified dairy products.
The bottom line
The “sunshine vitamin” is here to stay. Even when the skies are grey. Everyone in the UK is advised to take a daily supplement of vitamin D during the autumn and winter months (October to early March), when we cannot make vitamin D from sunlight.
Goodwill Vitamin D3 will cover your daily needs for vitamin D3 when you can’t get the sufficient amount from sun or diet.
You can find a lot more information about this vitamin and other interesting health topics on our blog.