Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3.

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.

Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.

Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

In another study of people with fibromyalgia, researchers found vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were also experiencing anxiety and depression.

Consider adding vitamin D supplements to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight or prevent heart disease.

In one study, people taking a daily calcium and vitamin D supplement were able to lose more weight than subjects taking a placebo supplement. The scientists said the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.

In another study, overweight people who took a daily vitamin D supplement improved their heart disease risk markers. (Healthline Editorial, 13 November 2017 [Reviewed by Wilson, Debra Rose, PhD])

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