5 Reasons You Need Vitamin D

As the fall days get shorter and we see less sun, only then do we tend to think about increasing our dosage of vitamin D, otherwise known as "sunshine vitamin".

Only after the fall days get shorter and we see less sun, do we tend to think about increasing our dosage of vitamin D – otherwise known as the “sunshine vitamin.”

Actually, doctors say an adequate level of vitamin D in the blood is necessary for a healthy body year-round. Most of the U.S population is deficient in this building block of health. It’s easy to become deficient – it’s not abundant in a lot of foods, and the simple process of aging can reduce vitamin D levels. Plus, the most common source and best way to get vitamin D is through direct sunlight on the skin, so there’s a good chance truck drivers who sit in a cab all day aren’t getting enough vitamin D.

Foods that are high in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, milk, mushrooms, and egg yolks. Whether you increase your Vitamin D through food or a supplement (available at most drug stores), here are 5 reasons why you should consider adding it to your diet:

Healthier Heart

A recent study at Copenhagen University showed that participants who had the lowest levels of Vitamin D were found to have an 81% higher chance of dying from heart disease. That’s a lot! What’s more, those who were the most deficient in the vitamin had 64% greater risk of heart attacks and 57% higher chance of early death.

Grow More Hair

Hardly any men out there want to lose their hair, but most don’t think about vitamin D when trying to keep it from falling out. Research recently revealed that vitamin D has the ability to revive receptors in the hair follicles that cause male pattern baldness. How’s that for a natural remedy?

Decrease Your Cancer Odds

Scientists recently discovered that regardless the form of cancer, or even the nutritional status of the patient, the one thing most cancer patients have in common is a vitamin D deficiency. While the best way to stop the disease is early detection, vitamin D seems to have a big role in prevention. “Activated vitamin D is one of the most potent inhibitors of cancer cell growth,” says Dr. Michael F. Holick with Boston University School of Medicine.

Improve Mental Sharpness

According to a British study, middle-aged male participants who had the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood showed higher cognitive performance and superior memory function. If you suspect your vitamin D levels to be low, some doctors suggest to try a supplement of 400-3,000 IUs for 3-4 months or you can order a blood test from your doctor.

Leaner Waistline

If you want to trim down, try some fortified D orange juice. A recent 16-week study indicated that those who consumed orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D reduced their belly fat significantly more than those who just drank plain juice. Also, research shows that people with low levels of Vitamin D are at a higher risk of diabetes. Bringing up your vitamin D levels can help reverse some of the risk, doctors say.

Click here for a great, comprehensive fact sheet on vitamin D from whfoods.org.

Sources
The World’s Healthiest Foods
WebMD
Men’s Fitness