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The unexpected benefits of Vitamin D

It is common knowledge that obtaining healthy levels of vitamin D is key to maintaining and developing healthy and strong bones, writes Dr Denise Furness.

However, new research conducted on behalf of Ostelin has found that 72 per cent of young women are unaware of the role vitamin D plays for their bodies, and more than a third (35.1 per cent) of Australians don’t know that vitamin D is important for lifelong bone health.

The findings have prompted health experts to urge Aussies to consider implementing vitamin D into their lifestyle. Vitamin D is essential to support calcium absorption and overall bone health. Additionally, there are also many unexpected benefits that vitamin D provides and might be worth considering.

Here are four surprising benefits of vitamin D: 

Mood booster

Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in response to sunlight, but studies have found the vitamin can also boost your mood and put you in a sunny disposition. Heading outdoors and enjoying some sunshine is a great way to improve your mental wellbeing, as well as increasing your vitamin D intake.

Immune defence

Not only does vitamin D play a vital role in bone health, studies have also found that it plays an important role in reducing your susceptibility to infections and immune disorders, keeping your immune system fighting fit.

Healthy teeth

Our teeth are made up of similar tissue to our bones, meaning they face the same issues as our bones, including brittleness and weakness. Researchers have found that low vitamin D levels can increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities. As vitamin D and calcium go hand in hand to maintain healthy, strong bones and teeth. Safeguard your pearly whites by loading up on vitamin D enriched foods like milk, cheese and oily fish.

Improved muscle strength

An unexpected symptom of vitamin D deficiency is muscle pain and weakness. Vitamin D is most commonly known for boosting your bone health, but low levels of vitamin D can have impact on your muscles too, reducing your muscle strength and performance.

Dr Denise Furness is a molecular geneticist, nutritionist and medical researcher.

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