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Vitamin D: 5 Surprising Benefits of Vitamin D3

Updated on Feburary 28, 2023

What is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D is essential for good health and comes in two forms: vitamin D2, also called ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. While both forms can help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from food, there are key differences between them.

Vitamin D2 is derived from plant sources like mushrooms and yeast, while Vitamin D3 is mainly obtained through sunlight exposure or as a supplement. Both vitamins need to be converted by the liver into an active form before the body can utilize them. However, research indicates that Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising blood levels of this nutrient than its plant-based counterpart Vitamin D2.

The surprising benefits of vitamin D3 are many. Vitamin D3 is a vitamin that is essential for human health. The body needs to make its vitamin D from sunlight, and people who are dark-skinned have less sun exposure than people with lighter skin. Therefore, they are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiencies.

Vitamin D is often considered a vitamin for the skeletal system, but it has surprising benefits beyond just strong bones. Vitamin D can help to prevent conditions such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and depression. It can also improve mood, cognitive function, and physical performance. Vitamin D supports muscles, nerves, and immune systems and affects brain and heart health.   It can boost serotonin levels and mood. At your next doctor’s visit, be sure to get your vitamin D levels checked.


Why You Might Need More Vitamin D3

There are a few possibilities:

  • You don’t get enough sunshine.
  • You don’t get enough from food. This is more common in vegans and people with dairy allergies or intolerance.
  • Your body doesn’t absorb it as well as it should. Your body needs fat to absorb vitamin D. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other conditions that affect your gut — like celiac disease, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, and cystic fibrosis — make it harder for you to absorb fats. Individuals with bowel disease are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiencies. 
  • Your body gets rid of it too quickly. Stress causes your body to consume more vitamin D. During stress, you may need more vitamin D.
  • Your body doesn’t make vitamin D well
  • Lack of adequate sun exposure


Surprising Benefits of Vitamin D3


What Does Vitamin D Do?


Vitamin D3 Benefits Promotes Healthy Bones and Prevents Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects a third of women between 60 and 70 and two-thirds of women 80 or older. Nothing causes it, but insufficient vitamin D makes it harder for your body to use the minerals to keep bones strong.

In osteoporosis, there is an enlargement of natural spaces in the substance of your bones. They become more porous, which makes them more breakable. Vitamin D seems to prevent and improve osteoporosis. 

Vitamin D3 Benetis Are  Helpful For Breastfeeding Mothers and Infants 

Breast milk often lacks enough vitamin D to keep infants healthy unless the mother takes a supplement. Rickets happens most often in breastfed children. African American mothers, in particular, tend to start with less vitamin D in their blood. Experts say breastfeeding infants need an extra 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

Vitamin D3 Benefits Can Help Those Who Are Overweight

If you have a BMI of 30 or more (meaning you are obese), your vitamin D levels are more likely to be lower than someone who isn’t obese. It’s not that your skin makes less; the extra fat under your skin keeps more of it and changes how it goes into your blood. Diet, lifestyle changes, and supplements can help with this issue.

Vitamin D3 Benefits Can Help With Weight Loss

In one study, people taking daily calcium and vitamin D supplements lost more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra supplementation had an appetite-suppressing effect, leading to weight loss.

 Vitamin D3 Benefits Can Boost The Immune System

In an international study that looked at nearly 11,000 people over 25 clinical trials, researchers found that those with lower levels of vitamin D who then took a daily or weekly supplement were shown to cut their risk of an acute respiratory infection (such as pneumonia or the flu) and an upper respiratory infection (like a cold and sinus infection). Dr. Harry adds that a study published in Frontiers in Immunology also found that vitamin D could be therapeutic for those with autoimmune diseases, such as Lupus and multiple sclerosis.

How to Increase Vitamin D3 Levels:

  1. Increase your sun exposure.
  2. Eat vitamin D-rich foods like Cod liver oil, salmon, swordfish, tuna fish, sardines, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, dairy and plant milk fortified with vitamin D,  and beef liver.
  3. Take Vitamin D supplements.  Some people take supplements of vitamin D to improve their health.
  4. Look for a vitamin D supplement that contains at least 10,000IU of vitamin D per serving and take it daily.  B

About Author

Picture of  Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D

Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D., originally from Atlanta, Georgia, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College. She later received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her Family Practice training at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia and her psychiatry residency at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Bell-Taylor has extensive post-graduate medical training in Functional, Integrative, and Anti-Aging Medicine. She is certified in Functional Medicine. Ava Bell-Taylor, M.D. is a holistic doctor with a focus on functional and integrative medicine. Combining functional medicine with her knowledge of conventional medicine has enabled Dr. Bell-Taylor to help many patients suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention-deficient, dementia, and eating disorders. Dr. Bell-Taylor specializes in functional medicine with a special emphasis on how hormone disorders, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and nutritional deficiencies contribute to brain dysfunction, like depression, attention deficiency, anxiety, insomnia, dementia, and other chronic medical illnesses. Dr. Ava Bell- Taylor is the co-author with her husband, Eldred B, Taylor, M.D, of two must-read books, Are Your Hormone Making You Sick? and The Stress Connection: How Adrenal Gland Dysfunction Effects Your Health.

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