Advantages for Bone Health
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone growth in children and healthy bone maintenance in adulthood. The Office of Dietary Supplements notes that vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and helps prevent osteoporosis, which can cause weak and brittle bones. Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can lead to a condition called rickets, which causes soft bones, skeletal deformities, bone pain, fractures, impaired growth and dental deformities, notes MedlinePlus.
Effects on Immune Function
Getting plenty of vitamin D helps keep your immune system strong. A review published in 2011 in the Journal of Investigative Medicine reports that vitamin D deficiency weakens your immune system and increases your susceptibility for infection. Therefore, authors of this review suggest that supplementing with vitamin D may be beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 to 20 micrograms daily for adults, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Importance for Cognitive Function
Vitamin D also plays a role in optimizing brain health and reduces your risk for developing cognitive impairment or dementia, according to a review published in 2012 in the Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation. Authors of this review point out that brain tissue is full of vitamin D receptors, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) may help protect against Alzheimer's disease because low vitamin D levels are associated with the disease.
Heart Disease Risk Reduction
Getting too little vitamin D may put you at a higher risk for developing heart disease. A study published in 2011 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men with higher vitamin D intakes from food and supplements had lower risks for developing heart disease. However, this study did not find the same association between vitamin D and heart disease risks in women.
Effects on Mood
If you're deficient in vitamin D and suffering from depression, taking a vitamin D3 supplement may help boost your mood. A study published in 2014 in Molecular Psychiatry found that study participants with depression had low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. Furthermore, depressive symptoms were worse in people with the lowest vitamin D levels. Researchers who conducted this study note that vitamin D supplementation may be a cost-effective way to help treat people with depressive disorders.
An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as TheNest.com and J