5 Proven Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1. Vitamin D could help to relieve symptoms of depression

A thorough meta-analysis that included several worldwide studies has found that vitamin D supplements could help relieve symptoms of depression.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2096560

Vitamin D is thought to regulate the disturbances of central nervous system functions that have been linked to depression. Cross-sectional studies have also observed a link between symptoms of depression and a deficiency in vitamin D.

This meta-analysis of the link between supplementation with vitamin D and depression included results from 41 studies worldwide. These studies have looked at the effectiveness of vitamin D in relieving symptoms of depression in individuals through randomized placebo-controlled studies in different populations.

The studies included those performed in depressive individuals, in the general population, and individuals with a variety of physical conditions. The meta-analysis results reveal that vitamin D supplementation works more effectively compared to a placebo in relieving symptoms of depression. There were significant differences in the vitamin D doses used, but the vitamin D supplement was generally 50-100 daily micrograms.

2. Vitamin D can help to reduce arterial stiffness quickly

A study has found that vitamin D supplementation improved arterial stiffness in only 4 months in, obese/overweight, vitamin-deficient, but otherwise still healthy young individuals.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188424

A deficiency in vitamin D seems to contribute to rigid artery walls which are a predictor of cardiovascular-related disease.

Individuals who took 4,000 international units, over 6 times the Institute of Medicine's currently recommended daily amount of 600 IUs for the majority of individuals, received the most benefit.

This high 4,000 international unit dose of vitamin D, now regarded as the highest, safe dose by the Institute of Medicine, significantly decreased arterial stiffness the quickest by 10.4% in 4 months.

Two thousand IUs reduced stiffness by 2% in that period of time. Arterial stiffness increased slightly at 600 IUs by .1 % and increased by 2. % in the placebo group over that period of time.

The non-invasive pulse wave velocity was used to evaluate arterial stiffness. Measurements were taken from the neck's carotid artery to the femoral artery, the main blood vessel supplying blood to the lower body.

The heart generates a waveform when it beats, and there are smaller and fewer waves with a healthy vasculature and heart. The test basically measures how fast the blood moves, and fast isn't good in this case.

The pulse wave velocity is higher when the arteries are stiffer, which increases cardiometabolic disease risk later on.

The different dosages, and also the placebo taken, were all packaged identically so neither the researchers nor the participants knew which dose if any, was administered until the completion of the study.

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3. Vitamin D twice a day helps to prevent vertigo

According to a study, taking a vitamin D supplement as well as calcium twice daily could decrease the chances of recurrent vertigo.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010343

The study indicates that taking a vitamin D and calcium supplement is an easy way for preventing recurring vertigo in individuals with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is is one of the most prevalent kinds of vertigo that occurs when changes in a head position give an abrupt sensation of spinning. Treatment includes a health practitioner carrying out several head movements to shift the ear particles that cause vertigo, but the disorder has a tendency to frequently recur.

The researchers examined 957 individuals who had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and had been successfully treated with the head movements. They were divided into 2 groups, a treatment group, and an observation group.

The 445 individuals in the treatment group had vitamin D levels checked at the beginning of the study. The 348 individuals with levels under 20 ng/mL supplemented with 400 IUs of vitamin D and 500 mgs of calcium twice a day, while individuals with vitamin D levels equivalent to or more than 20 ng/mL weren't given supplements.

The vitamin D levels of the 512 observation group individuals weren't monitored and they didn't get supplements.

Individuals in the treatment group taking the supplements had a lower rate of recurrence for vertigo episodes after 1 year on average compared to the observation group individuals. Those who took supplements had a rate of recurrence of 0.83 times per person-year on average, in comparison to 1.10 times per person-year for the observation group individuals, or a 24% decrease in the rate of annual recurrence.

There seemed to be more of a benefit for individuals who were more vitamin D deficient at the beginning of the study. Individuals who began with vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/mL had a 45% decrease in the rate of annual recurrence, while individuals who started with vitamin D levels at 10 to 20 ng/mL had just a 14% decrease.

A total of 38% of the treatment group individuals had another vertigo episode, in comparison to 47% of the observation group individuals.

4. Vitamin D could help slow the progress of diabetes

According to a study, supplementing vitamin D could help slow type 2 diabetes progression in individuals who are newly diagnosed or who are prediabetic. The study results indicate that high-dose vitamin D supplementation can improve glucose metabolism to help prevent diabetes development and progression.4✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1530/EJE-19-0156

Even though low levels of vitamin D have previously been linked to a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, some research has reported no metabolic function improvement. These studies however often had a low number of participants or included metabolically healthy individuals with normal vitamin D levels at the start of the study, or who had long-standing type 2 diabetes.

For this study, the researchers examined the effect of supplementing vitamin D on glucose metabolism in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes individuals or identified as at high risk of developing the disease. Glucose metabolism and insulin function markers were measured before and after 6 months of supplementing high-dose vitamin D of about 5-10 times the recommended dose.

Even though only 46% of the individuals were established to have low vitamin D levels at the start of the study, vitamin D supplementation significantly improved the action of insulin in the muscle tissue of the individuals after 6 months.

5. Vitamin D could help to prevent the start of rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers have found that having adequate vitamin D levels could help in preventing the start of inflammatory diseases which include rheumatoid arthritis.5✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1016/j.jaut.2017.10.001

The study also determined that although Vitamin D can be effective at protecting against the start of inflammation, it's not so effective once inflammatory disease is established since conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis result in vitamin D insensitivity.

The researchers determined that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis should be prescribed much higher doses of vitamin D than currently used or provided a treatment that also corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of the joint's immune cells.

Vitamin D is a potent immune system modulator and can help in suppressing inflammation in autoimmune diseases. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are often vitamin D deficient and might supplement with vitamin D.

The study involved making use of paired peripheral blood and synovial fluid from the inflamed joint of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers examined reactions to the active type of vitamin D in the inflamed joint immune cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients. In comparison to blood from these individuals, the immune cells from the inflamed joint were not as sensitive to the active type of vitamin D.

This seems to be due to the fact that the joints immune cells of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more committed to inflammation, and consequently more unlikely to change, although they have the mechanism to respond to vitamin D.

The study suggests that keeping adequate vitamin D levels could help in preventing the start of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Just providing vitamin D is however probably not enough for individuals who are already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Much higher vitamin D doses might instead be required, or possibly a treatment bypassing or correcting the immune cells' vitamin D insensitivity inside the joint.

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