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The 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Vitamin D - the Sunshine Vitamin

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Table Of Contents

  • What Is Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Hormone
  • Vitamin D Synthesis
  • Health Benefits Of Vitamin D
  • Who Should Take Supplemental Vitamin D and Why
  • Vitamin D And Osteoporosis
  • Vitamin D And Arthritis
  • Vitamin D And Fibromyalgia
  • Vitamin D And Acne
  • Vitamin D And Weight Loss
  • How Much Vitamin D To Take
  • Sources Of Vitamin D
  • References
  • A Good Hub
  • Some Of My Other Hubs On Health Topics

Sunshine Vitamin - D

What Is Vitamin D ?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It helps in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Those people who are out in the sun for adequate time do not need to take supplemental Vitamin D, as sunlight helps in synthesizing this vitamin when bare skin is exposed to it.

There are 5 types of Vitamin D viz; D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5. Of these the human body can utilize 2 forms :

  • Vit D2 - Ergocalciferol
  • Vit D3 - Cholecalciferol

As per the data from NHANES, the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, USA, 9 % of the child population in the USA, is vitamin D deficient.

Sunlight is our major source of vitamin D, then it's from the food we consume and if needed, from vitamin D supplements that we take.

The active form of vitamin D in the body is Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxy cholecalciferol).

Calcitriol helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the food e eat. It also helps to reabsorb calcium in the kidneys, thereby increasing calcium levels in the blood. Calcitriol, thus, helps in bone mineralization and prevents low calcium conditions that can cause overactive neurological symptoms, cramps of hands and feet, spasms of the voice box. Calcitriol also is needed for keeping many organ systems working in top condition.

An exposure of 10 to 20 minutes on the uncovered skin (without sunblock) 2 times a week, is adequate for getting the required vitamin D3. Longer exposure has no added benefits as the excess is destroyed as soon as it is produced.

Fat is needed by the body to absorb vitamin D from the food we eat.

Vitamin D2 is not produced in our body in response to sunlight. However, Vitamin D3 is produced when sunlight falls on our bare skin.

Vitamin D is a Hormone

By definition, a hormone, is a chemical that is made in one organ, goes into the blood and affects another organ system.

The skin produces vitamin D. It is carried in the blood to the liver and kidneys for conversion to its active form and it then goes to the bones to strengthen them and intestines to help in calcium absorption. So, by definition, Vitamin D is a hormone.

Vitamin D Synthesis

Vitamin D is not an essential dietary vitamin requirement as in the presence of adequate sunlight, the body can synthesize it, as the cholesterol in the body reacts with the ultra violet rays of the sun, the UVB rays, to produce vitamin D.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D makes the bones strong and maintains its strength. It also regulates the immune system. It also aids in maintaining ideal body weight.

Some more important and beneficial benefits are that it reduces the risk of :

  • Heart disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Damage due to low levels of radiation

Who Should Take Supplemental Vitamin D And Why ?

Supplemental Vitamin D should be considered, when and by those ;

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  • Whose exposure to sunlight is less as they live much further away from the equator.
  • Who work indoors most of the time and those with limited exposure to the sun's rays due to their clothing.
  • There is a lot of cloud cover making it impossible to get sunlight.
  • The atmosphere has a lot of smog.
  • Sunscreens are used. A sunscreen of SPF 8 can reduce vitamin D synthesis by as much as 95%.
  • Who are affected by fat malabsorption... This syndrome is associated with diseases like liver disease, Crohn's disease etc.

Under all these conditions, adequate vitamin D is not being synthesized as per the reasons mentioned. One is thus bound to develop a deficiency of vitamin D. Such persons have to have it from vitamin D supplements.

Also, the elderly and those with dark skin should consume extra vitamin D.

5 amazing health benefits of Vitamin D are :

1. Vitamin D And Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin and weak due to a decrease in bone mass and density. Therefore as one ages, osteoporosis becomes more common and so do fractures and broken bones.

Vitamin D not only build stronger bones but also improves muscle function thereby increasing the balance of the body. This reduces the chances of falling down and sustaining fractures.

Thus, Vitamin D and osteoporosis have a deep relationship with one another.

2. Vitamin D And Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints caused by a breakdown of cartilage, leading to stiffness and pain on movement. It is not a single condition and has more than 100 conditions that come under its umbrella.

Many studies have shown that those with osteoarthritis, of the hip and knee especially, had low blood levels of vitamin D.

Another study showed the crippling effects of vitamin D deficiency in those affected with rheumatoid arthritis.

It is believed that vitamin D benefits by either interacting with the immune system or by affecting the joints directly to relieve the painful conditions.

One reason pain in arthritis is severe is because arthritis affected people do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Therefore, to get adequate vitamin D in the body it is best to take vitamin D supplements along with as much sunlight that one possibly can to reduce and possibly eliminate arthritis pain.

3. Vitamin D & Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, not a disease. It is a chronic state of body-wide pains accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, early morning stiffness, impaired memory, anxiety, depression and abdominal complaints. The joints, muscles and tendons and soft tissues become inflamed and painful.

Many studies indicate that those with fibromyalgia also have lower vitamin D levels. Even people with anxiety and depression have been found to have low vitamin D levels.

Studies indicate that vitamin D reduces inflammation in fibromyalgia by reducing the production of the inflammation-causing protein, cytokine.

4. Vitamin D And Acne

Acne is a very common skin infection that affects adolescents the most. The scars it leaves, in severe cases, many times do not ever go away. Acne also causes inferiority complex in many young people. Among all skin diseases, acne accounts for almost one third.

There are many therapies like, diet, endocrine extracts, vaccines, local applications, physiotherapeutic procedures like UV light & x-ray etc, to treat acne.

Vitamin D activates white blood cells called macrophages that scavenge cholesterol, germs and dead cells by surrounding and engulfing them. These macrophages activated by vitamin D directly attack the acne bacteria giving the bacteria no chance to send out chemicals to damage the skin. As opposed to this, the normal white cells cause inflammation to kill acne bacteria.

Vitamin D also unclogs pores thus breaking down the blackheads and whiteheads. Moreover, since the cells of the sebaceous glands are sensitive to vitamin D3, sebum production is controlled.

5. Vitamin D And Weight Loss

A study by researchers from the University of Minnesota indicates that those who are overweight tend to lose weight when their vitamin D levels are raised.

Another study found that 75% of American teens and adults are low or deficient in vitamin D. Though there are no conclusive studies indicating that vitamin D deficiency is due to obesity or that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of obesity, yet these 2 factors seem connected.

Vitamin D along with calcium and sunlight helps to digest food and normalizes blood sugar levels. When there is a calcium deficiency, and most of the times it is due to a vitamin D deficiency, it increases the production of synthase by as much as 500%. Synthase is an enzyme that converts calories into fat.

How Much Vitamin D To Take ?

The United States Institute Of Medicine recommends the following daily requirement.

  • 1 - 70 years .............................600 IU (15 micro gm)
  • 71+ years ................................800 IU ( 20 micro gm)
  • Pregnancy/Lactation ...............600 IU ( 15 micro gm)

Safe Maximum Daily Intake Levels

  • 0 - 6 months ..........................1000 IU
  • 6 - 12 months ........................1500 IU
  • 1 - 3 years .............................2500 IU
  • 4 - 8 years .............................3000 IU
  • 9 - 71 years ...........................4000 IU
  • Pregnancy/Lactation...............4000 IU

Sources of Vitamin D

There are 3 ways of getting vitamin D :

  1. Diet

    Eat a diet that is rich in fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, swordfish, salmon, fish liver oils, goat milk, mushrooms and egg yolks.
    However, mushrooms contain the D2 form of vitamin D that is believed to be inferior to the D3 form.

  2. Sunlight

    Sunlight by acting on exposed skin produces vitamin D. Take 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight on as much of the exposed body as possible, every day, preferably avoiding it between 11 AM to 3 PM, and taking care to limit exposure to the sun's rays to prevent the harmful effects of longer exposure.

    Dark skinned people need to stay for a much longer time in the sun than white skinned people to get the same levels of vitamin D.

    Commercial tanning beds that emit UVB radiation can be used moderately too.

  3. Supplements

    Vitamin D2 or D3 supplements can be taken by those who are very deficient in vitamin D or cannot take adequate sunlight due to any reasons. Supplements are available in the form of high dose injections, capsules, powders and liquids.

However if one is deficient in vitamin D, supplemental vitamin D has to augment the diet and sunlight. Only the 25(OH)D test for vitamin D levels can point to the levels needed to bring the vitamin D blood levels to 60-80 ng/ml, the ideal level as many studies show.

According to Health Canada, the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin D are:

Age group RDA ..................................Tolerable ............................Upper Intake

Infants 0–6 months ...............................400 IU* .................................1000 IU

Infants 7–12 months .............................400 IU* .................................1500 IU

Children 1–3 years ...............................600 IU ...................................2500 IU

Children 4–8 years ...............................600 IU ...................................3000 IU

Children and Adults 9–70 years...........600 IU ...................................4000 IU

Adults > 70 years ..................................800 IU ...................................4000 IU

Pregnancy & Lactation .........................600 IU ...................................4000 IU

Note*: Adequate Intake rather than Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Source :

References html -,

A Good Hub


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Some Of My Hubs On Health Topics

CBN News - The Amazing Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin B12 & Vitamin D - does Vitamin tablets/supplements work or bogus? By Dr Khadar

The Many Benefits Of Vitamin D

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


pram on December 09, 2014:

What time of the day,for how much time per day and how much should be time gap between two successive sun baths do u recommend for a person living in Mumbai in the month of December? Mumbai has rains during June-September and March-May are very hot and humid.

Is is appropriate to take a shower with use of soap after sun bath?

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2014:

Thanks, manatita44. I am glad it is useful.

manatita44 from london on March 16, 2014:

Very well researched article. I have taken it and also recommended from time to time. Helps.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on March 16, 2014:

If there is no sun, yes, supplements with vitamin D and foods rich in D are the way to go, Sarah Wingate.

Sarah Wingate from Tel Aviv, Israel on March 13, 2014:

But if you don't have sun (in cold climate areas), eating foods rich in vitamin D can replace the sun: eggs, fish, butter, liver and even milk containing 3% fat.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 04, 2013:

Hi John, this indeed is a sad case. It has to be realized that we need sunlight, not the harsh sunlight during the afternoon but a bit an earlier or later as one prefers and 15-20 minutes a day is sufficient for the most part.

I'm glad you like the info. Thanks for the visit.

JCielo from England on February 03, 2013:

Rajan, I've only just picked up on this hub. All I can say is awesome! As per usual with your content, it is extremely well researched and very well written. And on such an important topic.

As an example of perhaps overreacting to the fear of skin cancer, there was a tragic case, fairly recently here in the Uk, where a child died because her mum, as I understand, put sun cream on her throughout the year? And, I guess, because our food has relatively little Vitamin d, unless she had been given supplements, she had no way to get enough.

Once again, awesome hub Rajan!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 26, 2012:

manatita, due to my other business, I find time is short for me to take the challenge you are referring to. Thanks for letting me know. Have a good day.

manatita44 on September 26, 2012:

Thank You. I take it. Do you wish to take up the challenge of Chronic fatigue Syndrome? perhaps you can help me. Regards.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 23, 2012:

Hi Linda,

I know you spread sunshine so you don't need it. Seriously, if one stays in a Sunshine state like Florida, one can have enough of this vitamin by staying out. I'm glad you do.

Thanks for sparing time to read and comment.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on September 23, 2012:

Hi Rajan! This is a fantastic and informative hub about Vitamin D. I don't take the supplements because I get plenty of sunshine in Florida to compensate. My husband does take it daily. It helps strengthen the bones. UP! Awesome!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2012:

manatita, maybe that would be the right recourse to judge whether the aches are due to the low vitamin D levels. Wish you good health.

manatita44 on September 05, 2012:

But you may be right. I have been considering having a test done. I took a full bottle just before NY in August. I got some sun there and I'm getting a little here while it last. Still, I do have aches and pains. probably from my ramipril for High BP but I hope to check it soon. stay blessed.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2012:

@ Tammy - thanks for the feedback. Appreciate your reading and sharing.

@ Aurelio - an exposure of 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight daily, at the times mentioned, is sufficient for the body to get the daily requirement of vitamin D. However determining whether one is low on this to start with can only be determined by the test as mentioned.

Thanks for the read and votes.

@ Gypsy - It is bottled in the form of vitamin D. We need to take supplemental D in these months ahead.

Thanks for the read and share.

@ Trinity - thanks for reading and glad you liked.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2012:

@ manatita- sorry about the mix up in the names. The first comment was for memories.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 05, 2012:

@ manatita - I think you ought to get tested for the Vitamin D levels. I can just hazard a guess-maybe the vit D levels are really low down. In that case, unless you take a massive doses first the levels won't rise.

Glad you found it useful and thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day.

@ manatita - I'm glad you found the write up useful and hope it helps you. Thanks for reading and commenting and have a fun day.

@ Deborah, lots of people are finding themselves low on vitamin D levels, Glad you get a lot of sun and it is benefiting you. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

@ Susie - taking vitamin D and calcium supplements is good. Better to be safe. Thanks for the read and votes. Have a good day.

Trinity M on September 04, 2012:

Great hub Rajan. I truly believe in the health benefits of all vitamins and Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that should not be overlooked. Great job; your hub is very well written and informative. Voted up and useful.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 04, 2012:

Thanks for this very informative and interesting hub. Vitamin D sounds like something I need considering that autumn and winter are coming on. They don't bottle sunshine do they? Passing this on.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on September 03, 2012:

I'm curious as to what the definition of adequate sunlight exposure is. In other words, at what how many hours of sunshine do you start deciding that you need to supplement with Vitamin D? Voting this Up and Useful.

Tammy from North Carolina on September 03, 2012:

Excellent information Rajan! I have to take vitamin D supplements and they make the biggest difference. Sharing!

Sueswan on September 03, 2012:

Hi Rajan,

I take 4000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 along with a calcium supplement and mulitvitamin daily.

Voted up and awesome

Take care :)

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on September 03, 2012:

This is very informative. I had heard many people are vitamin D deficient. I'm probably okay, since I spend lots of time outside and get it in my diet.

manatita44 from london on September 03, 2012:

Very educational article, Rajan.

I take it myself sometimes as I get aches and pains all over. Many of us do not know of its significance. So your article is timely and useful.

Memories1932 on September 03, 2012:

Hi rajan another very interesting article. Unfortunately I have taken Vitamin D3 5000 IUs daily and so far it is not helped me . Do you have any suggestions . Thank you. Have a nice day.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 03, 2012:

@ Lord - Absolutely, the more we go away from nature, the more health issues we face. It's time we connected more with nature.

Thanks for stopping by.

@ Harsha - You are right. We need to connect more with nature. Thanks for reading.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 03, 2012:

@ Healthy - I'm sure with the right supplements you will manage to get your D levels up. Thanks for finding it helpful.

@ Stephanie - Its so good to know you are spreading awareness about this vitamin. Even in countries with sunny climates vitamin D deficiency is on the rise with use of sunscreens and staying indoors when the sunlight is really at its peak of UVB rays.

Glad you found this hub useful and thanks for your feedback.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 03, 2012:

@ spy - You're absolutely right. Thanks for visiting.

@ bizwin - thank you.

@ Sandra - vitamin D has a lot going for it now and I've personally seen it work in cases of severe pain when the levels of vitamin D were low.

Appreciate the votes and sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 03, 2012:

Hi John, the benefits of these tanning beds are controversial; for instance, Dr Mercola recommends it, while Dr Oz doesn't.

Thanks for reading and commenting. nice to see you here.

Harsha Vardhana R from Bangalore on September 03, 2012:

Thanks for the spread of awareness when our exposures to sunshine is getting reduced rapidly.