The Many Benefits of Vitamin D
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin makes it when exposed to the sun. It’s also the most common nutrient deficiency.
Like most vitamins, vitamin D has many functions in the body. It’s mostly known for its ability to help build strong bones. But, vitamin D is also important for a healthy immune system, digestive system, heart and mental health, blood sugar regulation, fertility, and resistance to cancer.
FUN FACT: Vitamin D is the vitamin with more scientific articles published since 2000 than any other vitamin.
Vitamin D Increases Serotonin
Have you been noticing how the sun has improved everyone's mood significantly? Well, you're not wrong to assume that! There is, in fact, scientific evidence to prove that there is a correlation between the sun and your mood. In order to explain this to you, here are reasons why the sun makes us feel so happy:
Sunlight may actually help to improve our sleep, which ultimately will keep us feeling fresh and happy. Our body has a natural time-keeping clock which is referred to as our circadian rhythm, and we produce hormones which signal for our body to tell us when it’s time to sleep. Exposure to natural sunlight or bright light during the day can help to keep our circadian rhythm healthy and may improve sleep quality and duration. One study has even shown that day time bright light exposure reduced the time it took insomniacs to fall asleep by as much as 83%.
How Do You Get Vitamin D From The Sun?
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the production of a hormone called serotonin, which contributes to wellbeing and happiness. During the winter months where it’s dark and dull, this lack of light can also affect our serotonin levels. This can be particularly problematic for those suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs during the autumn and winter, and is why those who are diagnosed may benefit from the use of a light box which mimics natural sunlight.
Vitamin D is referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ for good reason! This vitamin is manufactured within the body in response to sunlight reaching our skin. This means that there is an increased risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency during the winter months, which is also associated with SAD. Since it is getting brighter, catch those rays of sun to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the your body, and keep your bones, teeth and muscle healthy!
*As we don’t receive enough sunlight during the winter months, Public Health England suggest that we all consider supplementing with 400IU daily October to April.
We Spend More Time Outdoors
Sunny days = more times outdoor, and did you know this can improve your mood significantly? A research by the Journal of Environmental Psychology has shown that fresh air along with nature is associated with greater vitality. If you’ve also been exercising outdoors and have seen a drastic change in your mood, science has proven that this is the case! Evidence has proven that green exercise (activity in the presence of nature) of any form has shown improvement for mood as well as self-esteem. What better time to head to Hyde Park when it’s also this sunny?
(Last updated on 18/05/2022)