Most of us feel happier and more healthy when we spend time in the sun, but why is that, and why does it have the power to lift our mood and renew our energy? The answer lies in the Vitamin D which our skin produces in reaction to UV exposure from the sun.
This important vitamin plays a key part in our overall health, and as well as being sourced from the sun, can be found in certain foods too. So let's take a closer look at the role of Vitamin D and, more importantly why all of us can benefit from taking a further supplement of Vegan Vitamin D3 each day.
Vitamin D is even more important than was once thought, and is practically linked to every bodily function in some way or another. It's always been attributed to strong bones and teeth, but more than that, this particular vitamin is important for brain development, muscle function, the immune system, and for keeping your heart and cardiovascular system healthy. Read more about this in our blog post: Vitamin D in the news: Vitamin D deficiency linked to heart attack and stroke risk
The symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
According to a report in 2016 from Harvard University, 1 billion people are lacking sufficient levels of this important vitamin, often with devastating consequences. It's been suggested that there are several reasons for this, including:
- Not spending enough time outdoors
- Wearing Sunscreen
- Being obese, which raises the need for more Vitamin D
- Having skin which is darkly pigmented and as a result doesn't absorb UV that well
Being deficient doesn't always show symptoms, but when it does it can include any of the following:
- Painful bones
- Frequent bone fractures
- Soft bones which often result in deformities
- Inability to think clearly
- Unexplained fatigue
Often these symptoms aren't seen until levels get really low, making the condition difficult to diagnose. Besides bones and joints, low levels of this vitamin can also cause a low mood, depression, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Vitamin D3 – the most effective form of Vitamin D
What can be confusing when we start looking into Vitamin D is seeing Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 on some packaging, websites and blogs. What’s the difference between Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3? And which do we need?
So without going too deep into the science of it, there are two types of Vitamin D – Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3, and one is much more useful to us than the other, so it’s important we know the difference. This can be confusing when we’re trying to work out if we are getting enough Vitamin D.
- Vitamin D3, sometimes called calciferol, is what is produced when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight. It’s all ready for our body to take in, metabolise and use. This is the form of Vitamin D your body needs.
- Vitamin D2, sometimes called ergocalciferol, is the other form. It’s like the analogue version of Vitamin D. There’s a complex process that needs to take place in the body for Vitamin D2 to be ready for the body to use. That’s why a lot of scientists agree that actually Vitamin D2 isn’t really that helpful for your body, as it isn’t the type we are used to absorbing and utilising.
So we want to be getting more Vitamin D3 than Vitamin D2 because that’s what will help keep us healthy and will be the most beneficial.
Why do we need Vegan Vitamin D3 supplement?
As we have already seen many of us may be lacking Vitamin D. And Vitamin D3 is the most effective form of Vitamin D in a supplement as it is like the version of Vitamin D your body naturally produces in the sun. But why do we need Vitamin D3 at all? What does it do?
Once Vitamin D has been absorbed into your body, it gets sent to your liver, which does the job of transforming it into a chemical that can be sent all over to the body. Different tissues, like your kidneys, turn it into activated Vitamin D. Once you have this ‘activated Vitamin D’ flying around your body it works in two main ways:
- managing calcium in your blood, bones and digestive system, and
- helping cells all over your body to communicate properly.
Although there is a much more complicated scientific process than that, put simply, your body cannot function properly and healthily without the right amount of Vitamin D.
Five signs that you might need to supplement your vitamin D3 intake
If you’d like to find out more about Vitamin D3, whether you might be lacking in Vitamin D3 and how to work out if you need to supplement your vitamin D3 intake, you can download Vegetology’s free Guide ‘Five signs that you might need to supplement your vitamin D3 intake’.
At Vegetology, we love science. We spend our time researching what our bodies need and the best ways to get those minerals and vitamins, whatever your diet, whilst protecting the planet. We have created this guide, Five signs that you might need to supplement your vitamin D3 intake’ to help you, whether you follow a plant-based diet or not, to understand the type of Vitamin D your body needs and how to recognise if your are lacking in Vitamin D3.