Whether produced by the sun or taken in through food, vitamin D is a bone-health hero. Without enough, your bones can become weak and soft. Deficiency can lead to rickets, which causes a bowlegged appearance due to the softening of the bones (osteomalacia). In adults, it can also cause osteoporosis and increase fracture risk.
Increases Bone Density
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in bone health. It helps the body absorb calcium, which it uses to build strong bones. In addition, it strengthens the muscles that surround the bone, which helps support bones and reduce the risk of falls. Although some people are deficient in vitamin D, it is possible to get adequate levels through dietary sources, such as dairy products and fish. However, many people need more vitamin D from these sources because they live where sunlight is scarce or spend most of their time indoors. Fortunately, the body can synthesize some vitamin D from sunlight (UV light) on the skin. This makes up a large part of the recommended daily vitamin D intake, typically 600 IU up to the age of 70 years and then 800 IU per day until you reach old age. Researchers have found that the best vitamin D supplements can boost bone density and strength but should be used cautiously. The researchers studied a group of healthy adults who were not preselected for osteoporosis or were severely vitamin D-deficient and were not taking any medications that interfere with the body’s ability to make vitamin D. These participants were given a daily vitamin D supplement for two years. In addition to increasing bone density, vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of fractures in older people. The United States Public Health Service (USPSTF) recommends that people over 65 who do not have osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency take 10-20 mcg (400-800 IU)/day of vitamin D with their calcium to prevent fractures in this population.
Vitamin D is essential for several different functions, including the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. It also keeps your brain and immune system healthy. It comes from exposure to sunlight and is metabolized by the body, so it’s easy to get enough of this vitamin by eating various foods or taking a supplement. One of the fundamental ways vitamin D promotes bone health is by strengthening muscles. The active form of this vitamin binds to specific receptors in muscle tissue, and it can stimulate protein synthesis, which is the buildup of muscle tissue. This is especially helpful when exercising, as a lack of strength can make it difficult to perform exercises. Studies have shown that people deficient in vitamin D tend to develop poorer muscle function. Even though most people get their vitamin D from sunlight, this is not always possible, so it’s essential to supplement with this vitamin. You can get a daily supply of this vitamin by taking a daily vitamin D supplement or spending 20-30 minutes in the sun. In addition to its role in bone health, vitamin D can also promote skeletal muscle strength. A study published in 2015 found that participants who took a daily dose of vitamin D supplements had significantly better muscle strength than those who did not. The researchers said that this finding is important for older adults, as many of them are at risk of developing a deficiency in vitamin D. The results suggest that public health strategies may be needed to eliminate this deficiency in these populations, as they could benefit from increased muscle strength and overall bone health. The researchers recommended that anyone who is an athlete should be tested for adequacy in vitamin D. A concentration of at least 40 ng*ml-1 is necessary for optimal muscular performance. Moreover, athletes should be encouraged to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise. They should also be monitored for vitamin D levels throughout the year, especially in winter.
Prevents Inherited Bone Disorders
One of the most important benefits of vitamin D is its ability to prevent certain inheritable bone disorders. This includes rickets, which affect children and can lead to bowed legs and other skeletal deformities. The risk of developing rickets is higher for infants born to mothers with low vitamin D levels. This is why it’s often recommended that women take a supplemental form of vitamin D during pregnancy. Another benefit of vitamin D is its ability to help prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which the bone becomes weak and brittle, which can lead to fractures. Studies have shown that combining calcium and vitamin D can slow bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This is why many doctors now recommend that children and adults take a daily vitamin D supplement. Sometimes, a supplemental vitamin D can even help treat an inherited bone disorder. In short, vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones and muscles. It also can prevent bone diseases and conditions and help promote healthy bones. In addition, it can decrease the risk of bone fractures and improve the chances of recovering from them.