Vitamin D might just be the most popular nutrient to ever exist; products that contain high amounts of this vitamin, such as milk and breakfast cereals, proudly boast this fact on their packaging. This immense popularity is well deserved, as vitamin D is essential to ensuring prolonged bone health. In fact, the reason your favorite brand of milk contains vitamin D is to protect your bones. Starting in the 1930s, the US government began fortifying milk with vitamin D to combat rickets, a then widespread condition that causes bones to become soft and weak.
Despite its sterling reputation, many Americans fail to get enough vitamin D on regular basis; the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 36 percent of Americans fall into this category, though a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine put this figure at a much higher 77 percent. Regardless of actual number, it is safe to say that the diets of many Americans are sorely lacking in Vitamin D.
The problem of vitamin D deficiency is magnified when all of the benefits of this nutrient are taken into consideration. While it's common knowledge that vitamin D helps build strong and resilient bones, research has linked vitamin D consumption with reduced risks of depression, muscle pain and even cancer. Below are some of the lesser-known benefits of wildly popular vitamin.
Depression - Neglecting vitamin D might be the reason for your downbeat attitude. A team of researchers from the University of Texas recently concluded a massive study on depression and vitamin D, observing 12,500 participants over a four year span. The researchers found that subjects with exceedingly low levels of vitamin D were most at risk to suffer from depression. These findings were echoed by another study conducted by an American-based doctor, who found that her patients' depression symptoms improved dramatically after taking significant amounts of Vitamin D supplements.
Dementia - A study released in 2010 suggested a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. This particular study examined 858 adults over the age of 65, and found that subjects with the lowest levels of vitamin D were also the most likely to suffer from dementia symptoms. Specifically, elderly subjects deficient in vitamin D were 60% more likely to experience a general decline in cognitive abilities, and 31% more likely to have problems organizing their daily activities.
Muscle and Bone Pain - Do you frequently deal with pain in both your muscles and bones? The blame for this persistent problem might lie with your diet. A 2003 study sought to explain why 150 children and adults suffered from chronic bone and muscle pain. The one common factor in all 150 subjects? A noticeable deficiency in vitamin D.
Six years later, a report issued by the prestigious Mayo Clinic reinforced this theory, noting that patients afflicted with chronic pain had worse symptoms if their diets lacked vitamin D. According to Mayo Clinic doctors, subjects low in vitamin D required twice the amount of pain medication as other patients.
For those suffering with joint pain, a vitamin D supplement might prove especially useful. One such supplement with an impressive track record of success is Arthri-D3®, which contains 1000 IU (individual units) per serving.
Being Overweight and Obese - Extra body weight is typically associated with a junk food-heavy diet. While this notion is usually true, new evidence indicates that low levels of vitamin D can also lead to a bigger waistline. A researcher from the University of Michigan found that people lacking in vitamin D were particularly susceptible to rapid gains in weight. Likewise, a study authored by the University of Minnesota reported that increasing vitamin D consumption could assist with weight loss. Of course, vitamin D alone won't shed those excess pounds, so people who are overweight or obese should still exercise regularly and eat healthier.