It’s easy to remember that one mother who always reminded you to “take your vitamins,” but somehow it’s not quite as easy to remember to actually take them. Most of the time, that motherly lesson is thrown aside and forgotten, as many people don’t truly understand the benefits of vitamins and the reasons why taking supplements could be beneficial. While many foods provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, some of these are harder to come by, especially if you already have a natural nutrient deficiency in your body. Luckily, taking supplements is a great way to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to both survive and thrive; you just need to do a little research and talk to a doctor so you know which ones to take and how much of them you need.
Vitamin D: What Is It and What Does It Do?
Vitamin D is the nutrient that is known for being readily supplied by the sun. Without taking any additional supplements in the form of Vitamin D tablets, most of the vitamin D in your body is produced from exposure to sunlight, although there a few foods such as fish, dairy, and some fortified cereals that can provide small amounts as well. In fact, Vitamin D is actually the only vitamin that your body can produce on its own (with a little help from the sun, of course). Vitamin D is also unique because it actually turns into a hormone called calcitriol after it is produced.
Vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions, but it is particularly necessary for the production of absorption of calcium and healthy bone growth. Low levels of Vitamin D could cause children to have soft bones and adults to develop osteomalacia, which is when your bones become fragile and improperly shaped. Low Vitamin D levels have also been linked to conditions and health issues such as cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer, as well as heart disease, weight gain, and even depression.
Understanding Whether or Not You Should Take Vitamin D Supplements
While Vitamin D is certainly a very important and essential nutrient, it’s important to know that not everybody needs to take a supplement to increase their levels of this essential vitamin. If the levels of Vitamin D in your body are already at a good level, increasing those levels too much could result in overly high calcium levels in your blood, which could cause constipation, nausea, kidney stones, abnormal heartbeat rhythms, and confusion. Because it’s basically impossible to have Vitamin D levels that are too high from only sunlight and food sources, this would only be the case if you were taking Vitamin D supplements when you didn’t actually need to. To be safe, you should speak with your doctor to see if a Vitamin D supplement is right for you.