Vitamin D has been in the news more and more over the past couple of years for being believed to promote overall health and well-being. It seems like every week vitamin D is suggested to help with a new illness or disorder. For the most, vitamin D is absorbed by the body by absorbing UV rays from sunlight. Due to many people’s busy lifestyles, the average American does not receive enough sunlight in a day so a vitamin D supplementation may be needed.
Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone that binds with calcium for proper absorption by the body. Without adequate amounts of vitamin D, the human body cannot absorb calcium. Vitamin D3 plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of the bone structure, maintaining normal blood levels, and organs.
Additionally, vitamin D is essential for the body’s development and maintenance. Deficiency symptoms include depression, back pain, impaired immunity, macular degeneration, and can affect the skeletal system, liver, kidney, and other organs.
Strength Training and Fitness
When it comes to fitness, there is always a variety of different studies trying to discover the next best way to shed some extra weight. New research conducted by the journal Clinical Nutrition has suggested that people using weight training as their primary means of conditioning and exercise, combined with a vitamin D supplement may decrease your waist size. Your waist size ultimately tells you most about your overall health.
Clinical Nutrition’s study consisted of 23 overweight and obese participants, whom all completed 12 weeks of resistance training. Half of the group received 4,000 IU’s of vitamin D, while the others got a placebo.
According to the study:
“The results of the current study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation improved muscular power in healthy overweight and obese individuals within four weeks and that elevated vitamin D status was associated with greater losses in waist circumference, with no additional benefits in lean mass accumulation, muscular strength, or glucose tolerance during participation in a 12-week resistance exercise training program.
The current results support previous findings that indicate a relationship between vitamin D status and waist circumference rather than fat mass. The inverse relationship with waist circumference is particularly important as abdominal fat has been implicated as an important factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes.”
With the decrease in weight loss, or waist size, may help reduce the chances of diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and metabolic disease. If you are concerned about your weight, see the infographic below which states what a person’s proper waist size compared to height should be. A person’s waist size can tell you more about your health than your overall weight. Read: More Belly ” Fat Has a “Higher ” Risk?
Type 2 Diabetes
There has been a lot of research suggesting that vitamin D may help prevent type 2 diabetes. Researchers found “a strong additive interaction between abdominal obesity and insufficient 25(OH)D in regard to insulin resistance.” They also claim that almost half of people with type 2 diabetes are considered overweight and have insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Another study conducted by Diabetes Care suggests that vitamin D supplements may help prevent diabetes in patients with pre-diabetes. They reported that participants in the study who had the highest vitamin D levels were about 30 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those with the lowest levels of diabetes.
Vitamin D plays a significant role in the human body and actually may help with eyesight. According to Neurobiology of Aging, vitamin D has is a powerful anti-inflammatory which may help rejuvenate aging eyes and amyloid beta, which is risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. This may lead to major eyesight problems and blindness.
Vitamin D can be considered a powerful antioxidant which can boost the immune system and protect the body against the aging process. A focal point of age related problems is blurry vision and retinal issues. It is believed that the properties of vitamin D will help slow the aging process as well as macular degeneration.
Tuberculosis and Pneumonia
Vitamin D has the ability to fight different kinds of infections including tuberculosis and pneumonia. Tuberculosis is a lung disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. According to the University of London, patients receiving high amounts of sunlight or high doses of vitamin D can treat the infections faster.
This study included 95 patients, with all receiving appropriate antibiotics. 44 of the patients were given supplemental vitamin D. Those who received vitamin D cleared tuberculosis bacterium in just 23 days compared to 36 days of those that did not. Due to vitamin D being a powerful antioxidant, it is believed to help fight off the unwanted bacteria in the body as well as help antibiotics response.
Meanwhile, according to the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress, the amount of vitamin D can accurately measure or predict a patient’s risk of dying from pneumonia. They also go on to say that people being treated for pneumonia with vitamin D can help boost their immune response and improve overall outcomes.
According to the study, researchers examined 272 adults in the emergency department with serious cases of pneumonia. Over half of the patients were vitamin D deficient, and many had severe deficiencies. This study found out that “severe vitamin D deficiency raised the risk of intensive care admission and 30-day mortality. Levels of vitamin D independently predicted 30-day mortality, and improved the accuracy of the PSI score from 78 percent to 85 percent.”
Lastly, vitamin D appears to be beneficial for those with epilepsy. Research has suggested that correcting vitamin D deficiencies may help prevent control of seizures. In the study, 13 patients with epilepsy were given a higher dose of vitamin D. Ten out of 13 had decreased number of seizures, while five of which experienced more than 50 percent reduction in seizures. Overall, vitamin D may help prevent these seizures. At this time, experts are not entirely sure for the reason but vitamin D receptors are present in the brain.
Things to Remember
If you decide to take a vitamin D supplement, remember to take the correct form of vitamin D! Vitamin D3 is the purest and most bioavailable form of vitamin D. However a vitamin D3 supplement will never be as beneficial as real sunlight! Make sure you go outside for a walk before or after work (if it is still light out) for at least 10 minutes a day.