Are you one of those who do Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation regularly? Or do you fancy catching the sun as you sunbathe on your deck? Whichever way you catch some rays, think about vitamin D. It is called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your skin in response to sunlight!
Namah Suryaya Santaya Sarvaroga Nivarine
Ayu rarogya maisvairyam dehi devah jagatpate.
The ancient text AdityaHridayam talks about the holistic healing properties of the Sun God, how the rays are nourishing and healing for the heart. Ayurveda attributes this to the vitamin D3 benefits of immunity-boosting and disease-fighting properties.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin of 3 types – D1, D2 and D3. There are two forms, known as D2 and D3. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, comes from fortified foods, plant foods, and supplements. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, comes from fortified foods, and animal foods. It is also made by your body when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Benefits of Vitamin D
There are many amazing benefits! It helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. If your body does not absorb enough calcium from your diet, bone production and bone tissues suffer. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults or rickets in children. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include overall debility and low immunity.
- Vitamin D has several important functions:
- Absorption of calcium and phosphorous
- Facilitating immune system function.
- Good for bone and teeth health, respiratory health, pregnancy, obesity, erythropoiesis, diabetes, muscle function and aging.
- Improved resistance against diseases
- Fights diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, autoimmune diseases.
Sources of Vitamin D in plant food:
- Orange juice (fortified)
- Cereal (fortified)
- Shitake Mushrooms
- Plus fortified Milk, Cheese and Yogurt.
There are not many vitamin D rich foods. It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements help avoid symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Too much Vitamin D?
Too much of a good thing can be bad too. Excess vitamin D makes the intestines absorb more calcium. Result: High blood calcium leading to calcium deposits in the heart and lungs; confusion, disorientation, kidney damage, nausea, vomiting, constipation, poor appetite, weakness,and weight loss.
It is recommended that you consult a doctor before working out the optimum level of Vitamin D for your age, gender and health.