Health Benefits of Vitamin D
1) Vitamin D is Crucial to Bone Health
It promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption from the gut, calcium reabsorption in the kidney, and calcium mobilization in bone (R).
Vitamin D is needed for bone growth and formation by bone cells.
2) Vitamin D Prevents Rickets and Osteomalacia
Rickets is characterized by a delay in the mineralization of growth cartilage.
Maternal vitamin deficiency can affect skeletal development of fetuses.
In a study of 424 pregnant women, mothers with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have fetuses with femoral bones that had rachitic features (R).
Adults with osteomalacia may experience global bone discomfort, and muscle aches and weakness (R).
Osteomalacia and rickets attributable to vitamin deficiency are preventable with adequate nutritional intake of this vitamin.
Varying doses and treatment regimes have been described with the aim is to achieve a blood level between 20 and 50 ng/mL (R).
3) Vitamin D Prevents Osteoporosis and Fractures
Studies show that in adults aged 50 years or older, vitamin D supplementation in combination with calcium has beneficial effects on bone mineral density, osteoporotic fractures and falls without evidence of harm (R, R2, R3).
In elderly women that were given 1200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D3 daily for 3 years, the risk of hip fracture was reduced by 43%.
The risk of fracture was reduced by 32% (R).
However, annual administration of high doses of vitamin D (500 000 IU) resulted in an increased risk of falls and fractures in older community-dwelling women (R).
4) Vitamin D Can Improve Physical Performance