One in four Australians have a vitamin D deficiency, The Australian Bureau of Statistics found, more than their neighbours in New Zealand, where approximately 5% of adults are deficient, the Ministry of Health states.
When skin is exposed to the sun, the body produces vitamin D. This important nutrient has various functions, from maintaining overall health and preventing illness, to promoting bone and teeth strength.
A lack of vitamin D can result in several issues, including abnormal bone growth and osteoporosis. Despite the amount of sun present in countries like Australia and New Zealand, vitamin D deficiency is common around the world. In light of Vitamin D Awareness Month, here are 5 reasons you should get outside and enjoy a daily dose of sun.
It keeps your bones strong
Vitamin D helps maintain phosphorus levels in the blood and helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for maintaining muscle health and keeping bones strong and healthy.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious bone-related issues for both children and adults. “If you have a vitamin D deficiency, particularly in your older years, it can lead to osteoporosis or osteomalacia [bone softening],” says assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, Lona Sandon, RD, reports webMD. In children, vitamin D deficiency can result in rickets, a disease which causes the bones to soften and makes the legs look bowed.
It promotes weight loss
Studies have shown how vitamin D impacts weight loss, with one study revealing that people who took a daily vitamin D and calcium supplement lost weight more quickly than those who did not. Vitamin D is also proven to reduce the risk of diabetes and lower blood pressure.
It fights disease
Vitamin D combats a number of diseases, including heart disease through improving vascular compliance and glycemic control, a study in PMC reveals. Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows how a high, regular dose of vitamin D reduces the risk fo multiple sclerosis. Additionally, vitamin D battles the flu by protecting the body from acute respiratory infections.
It reduces depression
Vitamin D also helps to regulate the mood and can even reduce depression. Numerous studies have shown the connection between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and anxiety and depression, with one revealing that people with low levels are 11 times more prone to depression than those without, University Health News reports. Because vitamin D is important for brain function, low levels of the nutrient can result in an enhanced low mood. Vitamin D not only increases mood levels, but elevates cognitive functions and improves memory.
Food sources of vitamin D:
- Fatty fish
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