Benefits of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is one of six important vitamins that the body needs to stay healthy; vitamins A, B, C, E and K are the other major vitamins that the body needs to function efficiently. Just as there are several types of vitamin B, there are also a couple of types of vitamin D. Although the body naturally produces many of the vitamins and minerals that it needs, sometimes vitamin supplements and other natural sources are needed to help our bodies during certain times of the year.

Types of Vitamin D

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two major types of vitamin D that our bodies need to stay healthy; vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants and can be found in various food sources. Vitamin D3 is the more “natural” type of vitamin D to the body as it is synthesized by the human body in the skin; however, the body needs exposure to ultraviolet-B rays (for example, sunlight and sun beds) in order to be able to do this. Consequently, during the winter months, when days are short and dark, we do not always receive adequate intakes of vitamin D.

Why Vitamin D is Important to the Body

Without adequate intake of vitamin D, your body will not function as healthily and efficiently as it should do. A report in the Women’s Health magazine, Why You Need More Vitamin D by Alisa Bowmen, states that studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a large number of health problems; these include pregnancy related problems, several types of cancer, depression, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may be as simple as loss of appetite, insomnia, weight loss, vision problems and diarrhea; however, there is scientific evidence to show that more severe symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, muscle weakness, familial hypophosphatemia, hyperparathyroidism, psoriasis and osteoporosis. A report in the Archives of Internal Medicine states that up to 77 per cent of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

How Vitamin D is Broken Down by the Body

Although vitamin D can be obtained through many types of foods and supplements, the body still needs help in converting it. Vitamin D is converted by the liver and the kidneys in order to become fully active. However, it is exposure to ultraviolet-B rays that allows a cholesterol compound in the skin to transform and “kick start” this process.

Vitamin D for a Healthy Body

Vitamin D assists in several processes in the human body. These include:

  • growth and development of the body (especially for bones and teeth in children)
  • absorption and utilization of phosphorus and calcium by the intestinal tract
  • regulation of the heartbeat
  • increases immunity
  • regulates thyroid function
  • assists in blood clotting.

Vitamin D3 for Colds and Flu

Colds and flu are more common in the winter months, just at the time when most people have reduced exposure to ultraviolet-B rays from sunlight. A report in the Archives of Internal Medicine (February 23, 2009) indicates that a study carried out by the Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital in Boston found that lower levels of vitamin D increased the risk of colds and flu, in addition to other respiratory infections.

Natural Ways to Obtain Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be obtained through foods, supplements and natural sunlight; these include:

  • dairy products such as eggs, milk and butter
  • fish, such as salmon, tuna, shrimp and sardines
  • cod liver oils
  • liver
  • vegetable oils
  • sweet potatoes
  • herbs such as parsley, nettle and horsetail
  • fortified foods and cereals (check the label to see if they contain vitamin D3. The body cannot breakdown D2, the plant based vitamin D, as efficiently and as easily)
  • vitamin D health supplements (1,000 IU)
  • exposure to sunlight three times a week for fifteen minutes each time.


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, unlike vitamin C which is a water-soluble vitamin supplement. Therefore, the body retains all of the vitamin D intake and it is not excreted by the body. However, you have to be taking vitamin D in large quantities before it builds up to toxic levels. Check with a health care provider if you are unsure how much vitamin D supplement you should be taking. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should reduce their level of vitamin D intake from the “regular” recommended amounts. In addition, if you have certain health conditions, you may have to reduce levels of vitamin D intake. However, taken correctly and safely, vitamin D3 supplements help the body to function more efficiently.


  • Balch, James F and Balch, Phyllis A, 1997 Prescription for Nutritional Healing US: Avery
  • Mayo Clinic website: Vitamin D
  • Women’s Health Magazine website: Why You Need More Vitamin D
  • Archives of Internal Medicine website: Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • US News Health website: Too Little Vitamin D May Mean More Colds and Flu
  • Photo by Extra Medium


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