Vitamin D has long been recognized for its role in maintaining strong bones, but it has more recently been found to influence your blood lipid profile and overall health as well. Blood lipid profile refers to your levels of triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The interaction between vitamin D and your blood lipid profile is complex but can result in important impacts on both your heart disease risk and overall well-being.
Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in some foods, produced in your liver and activated in your kidneys. It’s also synthesized in your skin during exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is very common, and some experts estimate that over 40 percent of the U.S. population is low in this nutrient.
The Link Between Vitamin D and Your Cholesterol Levels
One way in which vitamin D may affect your cholesterol levels is by regulating the absorption of fatty acids in your gut. For example, studies show that lower circulating vitamin D levels are associated with impaired fat absorption in your gut, which can affect the availability of fatty acids needed to produce cholesterol.
Vitamin D also influences the production of both HDL and LDL cholesterol. Research shows that a vitamin D deficiency is linked to both decreased HDL cholesterol and increased LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Vitamin D?
Although further research is needed, several studies suggest that enough vitamin D could lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also increasing HDL cholesterol levels. If these findings are confirmed in future studies, boosting your intake of vitamin D could become another way to improve your heart health and overall well-being.
Increasing Your Vitamin D Intake
Increasing your vitamin D intake is a potential way to improve your blood lipid profile. You can do this by eating more foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish, egg yolks and fortified foods and drinks. You can also get vitamin D naturally through sun exposure but should be careful to protect yourself against overexposure, including through the use of sunscreens. Additionally, you can take a daily vitamin D supplement to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin D plays an important role in your blood lipid profile and overall health, and getting enough of it is essential for good heart health. Be sure to get enough vitamin D from natural sources, fortified foods and a daily supplement to reap the health benefits it can offer.