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Vitamin D3

What is it good for?

Immune system. Bones. Cognitive functions

Found in

Fatty fish, milk products, and sun

Consequences of not getting enough

Soft bones / loss of bone dencity
Osteoporosis and fractures
Muscle weakness

Do you need it?

Sun Exposure 

If you don't get a lot of sun - which helps your body produce Vitamin D – or use sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce Vitamin D, you may be low on vitamin D. Increasing and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels can be as easy as spending 5-30 minutes in midday sun twice per week.

Diet

Also, if your diet is low in foods such as fatty fish and milk products, you may be deficient.

Age

Additionally, as we age, the capacity of our skin to synthesize Vitamin D decreases. People who are lactose intolerant and those who don’t get enough sunlight may be at risk of deficiency.


Research
Immune System
There have been multiple cross-sectional studies associating lower levels of vitamin D with increased infection. One report studied almost 19,000 subjects between 1988 and 1994. Individuals with lower vitamin D levels (<30 ng/ml) were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, even after adjusting for variables including season, age, gender, body mass and race.


Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... 

Vitamin D levels fluctuate over the year. Although rates of seasonal infections varied, and were lowest in the summer and highest in the winter, the association of lower serum vitamin D levels and infection held during each season. Another cross-sectional study of 800 military recruits in Finland stratified men by serum vitamin D levels. Those recruits with lower vitamin D levels lost significantly more days from active duty secondary to upper respiratory infections than recruits with higher vitamin D levels (above 40nmol).
An association of serum vitamin D concentrations < 40 nmol/L with acute respiratory tract infection in young Finnish men.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... 

There have been a number of other cross-sectional studies looking at vitamin D levels and rates of influenza. All have reported an association of lower vitamin D levels and increased rates of infection.
Epidemic influenza and vitamin D
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...

Vitamin D for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... 

Results of studies looking at potential benefits of administering vitamin D to decrease infection have not been consistent, most likely secondary to a number of methodologic concerns.
One recent well-designed prospective, double blind placebo study using an objective outcome, nasopharyngeal swab culture (and not self-report), and a therapeutic dose of vitamin D showed that vitamin D administration resulted in a statistically significant (42%) decrease in the incidence of influenza infection.
Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... 

Supports bone health
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption, which is why it is a major component of bone health. Ingesting adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life as part of a well-balanced diet may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Cognitive functions
A randomized double-blind placebo control trial conducted in Norway recently indicated that vitamin D status in adolescents may be important for both executive functioning and mental health:
Linking vitamin D status, executive functioning and self-perceived mental health in adolescents through multivariate analysis: A randomized double-blind placebo control trial.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... 

A 2017 study suggest that nonverbal (visual) memory seems to benefit from higher doses of vitamin D supplementation, particularly among those who are insufficient (<75nmol/L) at baseline:

Does high dose vitamin D supplementation enhance cognition?: A randomized trial in healthy adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...

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