The happiness hormone - vitamin D
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
Here are more surprising benefits of vitamin D:
Vitamin D reduces depression
Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
Vitamin D boosts weight loss
Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease.
In one study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.
In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers.
Food sources of vitamin D
Few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Because of this, some foods are fortified. This means that vitamin D has been added. Foods that contain the highest amounts of vitamin D include:
orange juice (fortified)
Also many green vegetables contain trace amounts of vitamin D, so adding them to your daily diet can contribute to adequate levels in your body too.
It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can also help.