Vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol, is a form of vitamin D that is attributed to preventing a number of human ailments. The health benefits of vitamin D3 are similar to those often associated with the general term “vitamin D.” Some benefits of vitamin D3 include strengthening the skeletal system and reducing risk of bone disorders, decreasing risk of immune system disorders and diabetes, muscle health, and prevention or treatment of depression and anxiety.
The health benefit most popularly associated with vitamin D3 is the strengthening of the skeletal system through control of calcium in the body. Children who are deficient in all forms of vitamin D3 are more likely to develop the bone disease rickets than children who naturally make, or consume, enough vitamin D3. Similarly, elderly people who are deficient in vitamin D3 are more likely to develop osteoporosis and osteoarthritis than those who have sufficient vitamin D. People who enjoy adequate amounts of vitamin D3 through all stages of development are generally more likely to have strong bones and teeth.
Besides skeletal health, there are many other possible health benefits of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is associated with a reduction in risk for immune system disorders, diabetes, and muscle deterioration. The key to reaping these and other health benefits of vitamin D3 is taking care to get adequate amounts steadily over time. Vitamin D3 is synthesized naturally in human skin after exposure to sunlight, but can also be consumed in the form of fish oils, fortified milk or cereals, or dietary supplements.
The connection between vitamin D3 and the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety seems to be linked with how it is produced in the body. People who experience depression in the winter months, a conditioned called Seasonal Affective Disorder, might have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies due to reduced exposure to sunlight. Increasing levels of vitamin D in the body by eating oily fish or taking supplements can mimic the effects of natural sunlight, and ease seasonal depression and anxiety.
As with any nutritional element, it is necessary to know a body’s individual needs before supplementing with vitamin D3. Overdose, while unlikely, is possible, and could cause negative health effects. Adding vitamin-rich foods to a diet is generally a safe way to increase nutrient intake and reap the benefits of vitamin D3, but it is always wise to check with a doctor before beginning a supplement regimen