Cholecalciferol, better known as Vitamin D3, is an essential nutrient for maintaining sturdy bones. It’s also quite helpful in improving the body’s immunity to heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Taking vitamin D3 supplements has been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing bone density-related conditions like osteoporosis and rickets. Taking vitamin D might also help in reducing blood pressure. The vitamin has an important role in brain development as well. A fairly recent study has shown an increase in autism among Somali children born to mothers deficient in vitamin D3. Another benefit vitamin D3 brings is its help in proper emotional development and gross motor coordination.
What most people don’t know is that vitamin D3, like all vitamin Ds, is a hormone. The body naturally produces the vitamin, giving us a steady supply. If that weren’t enough, vitamin D3 is also easily absorbed from sunlight. Yes, there is some nutritional value to tanning! The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D3 is 200 IU. Meeting that standard will help protect you against high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, melanoma, and (this may be surprising to you) some forms of mental illness. This meager amount is achieved most easily through sitting through a few hours in the sun, but there are other ways to get it if sunlight is not an option.
The problem is, with things being the way they are in the world today, we might not be getting enough sun. We’ve grown pretty conscious of the harmful effects of sunlight, from running the risk of a bad complexion to running the risk of developing skin cancer, and so we apply generous amounts of sun block, or just avoid sunlight altogether. Our lifestyles have made us spend more time indoors, away from the sun’s rays. Air pollution provides a dense cover over our cities, blocking off sunlight and harming our lungs at the same time. Another problem arises from the number of foods that provide an adequate amount of vitamin D3 – there’s simply not that many.
Some of the foods that contain good amounts of vitamin D3 are fish, cod liver oil, and eggs. Incorporating proper amounts of these foods into your diet will help you get the vitamin D3 you need. It’ll help you in consulting a dietician for your recommended intake.
You can purchase a variety of vitamin D3 supplements from your local drug store or health store. Drop by and ask about your choices. Look at the differing amounts of vitamin D3 between each brand and decide on which one you think will be best for you.
Now some people worry about “overdosing” on vitamin D3. The good news is that chances of that happening are actually very, very low. In order to experience any toxic effects from too much vitamin D3 in your system, you have to take enormous amounts of it regularly over a span of weeks. You can find a detailed report on this in a 1999 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, if you aren’t convinced.