Vitamin D is one of the most common supplements that people take, so you've most likely heard about it before. You may know we get it naturally from the sun, or that most people are deficient in vitamin D. But do you know why it's so important — why it's such a commonly used supplement?
It's Difficult to Get
To start, it isn't easy to obtain an adequate amount of vitamin D naturally. Our bodies absorb vitamin D when we expose our unprotected skin to the sun — yes, that means no sunscreen. Because sun exposure is so damaging to our skin, many people use sunscreen to stay safe when working, playing, or enjoying time outdoors. By some estimates, over 3 million Americans receive a skin cancer diagnosis each year. Slathering on sunscreen is an excellent habit to adopt.
But when you use sunscreen, it makes it more difficult for your body to absorb vitamin D. Other factors prohibit proper absorption, including where you live. The further away from the equator, the less UVB light reaches the Earth's surface. Pollution can also lower the level of UVB (and, therefore, vitamin D) in sunlight, and those who have darker skin need even more exposure to get proper amounts. That's why many people use a vitamin D supplement.
Supplement Vitamin D for Healthy Bones
A vitamin D supplement is essential for a healthy body, especially if you're not getting much sun exposure. The most crucial role that vitamin D plays in the body is that it regulates your intake of phosphate and calcium.
We all know that calcium intake is directly related to healthy bones. A deficiency in vitamin D could directly impair your efforts when consuming bone-supporting foods, such as those high in calcium. Calcium and phosphate are also directly linked to strong teeth and muscles.
Immune System Function
Another benefit of vitamin D is that it helps your body fight disease. That means it's a big help to your immune system. According to a 2010 study, vitamin D showed signs of common cold and flu prevention. This study makes vitamin D even more critical during flu season, primarily because that often occurs in winter when we have even less exposure to the sun.
It can be a big challenge for people to get proper amounts of vitamin D, so that's why it has become such a popular supplement, and an important one, too. Even if you think you're spending enough time outside or living in a sunny climate, it's not a bad idea to supplement with vitamin D.