Basic Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D strengthens your bones.

Vitamin D is famous for its bone-building and strengthening powers. “vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium in your gut, which ultimately allows for normal mineralization of your bones,” Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, tells Health. Basically, the calcium that benefits your bones wouldn’t be able to do its job without vitamin D. “You need vitamin D for bone growth—and to prevent bones from becoming brittle.” When teamed with calcium, it can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that signifies that the density and quality of bone are reduced.

It strengthens the immune system.

One of the most important Vitamin D benefits is its important role in maintaining and strengthening the immune system. It stimulates the production of T-cells and helps to promote a proper response to infectious pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and fungus, that are responsible for various types of illnesses, including the common cold, influenza, and similar community-wide diseases.

Prevent obesity.

Another reason for expecting moms to get enough D: Researchers out of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California report that pregnant women who are deficient may actually program their babies to become obese as children and adults. Six-year-olds born to mothers with very low vitamin D levels during their first trimester had bigger waists than kids whose mothers had enough vitamin D. These kids also had 2 percent more body fat, the study showed.

Promotes a Healthier Pregnancy.

Pregnancy, birth, and caring for a new baby require an increased amount of stress hormones and stamina (and often involve less-than-optimal sleep). This all puts an obvious strain on the body’s physiological balance and nutrient reserves. Fetal vitamin D demands lead to increased maternal needs for this critical fat-soluble nutrient. Repeated clinical research clearly demonstrates that vitamin D3 supplementation is critical for both maternal and infant vitamin D sufficiency.* Further, healthy vitamin D status during this unique life stage in mom and baby is linked with better maternal and infant outcomes, for example related to bone density, immune function, fetal growth, and maternal metabolic health, to name a few.*

It can reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to some devastating long-term complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, eye damage, vision loss, and kidney failure. Recent evidence suggests that vitamin D may play a significant role in reducing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes [7]—especially in those who are predisposed for developing this disease. Several studies have shown improvements in beta cell function and insulin sensitivity with higher levels of vitamin D. A recent study calculated the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and found those with the highest baseline levels of vitamin D had a 38 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D Can Help Strengthen Muscles.

Along with its bone-building abilities, vitamin D is also influential in strengthening muscles. “Lack of vitamin D in the body can increase the risk of having weak muscles, which in turn increases the risk of falls,” Lana Nasrallah, MPH, RD, clinical dietician at UNC Health, tellsN Health. This is especially important for the elderly. “Vitamin D may help increase muscle strength thus preventing falls, which is a common problem that leads to substantial disability and death in older adults.”