What is Vitamin D?-Vitamin D is one of the four fat soluble vitamins and one vitamin that can be obtained through exposure to the sun.- Vitamin D is also nick named the sunshine vitamin for obvious reasons.- There are 5 forms of vitamin D, but only two are physiologically relevant to us. Forms D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3(cholecalciferol)
- D3 is produced from our skin. Vitamin D is carried in the blood to the liver where it is then converted to calcidiol, which can then be converted in the kidneys to the biologically active form of vitamin D called calcitriol.
Vitamin D and Bone Strength-Vitamin D increases bone strength by increasing the calcium absorption from intestines, increasing osteoclast (bone building) numbers, maintaining phosphate and calcium levels, and helping the parathyroid hormone to maintain calcium levels
Immune System and Vitamin D• A study done at University of Copenhagen has come to the conclusion that vitamin D aids T cells activation in our body.• “When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, which searches for vitamin D. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilize. ”
Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D• An autoimmune disease that destroy the protective sheath of the nerves.• The body cannot distinguish between itself and a foreign substance or infection. This turns the body’s normally effective defense system against itself. Vitamin D pills are now being used as a treatment for MS
Vitamin D and Asthma Control• According to a study, published in the ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’, children who had lower serum vitamin D levels were more likely to have been hospitalized from asthma, and use more inhaled medicine.
Other Benefits• Vitamin D has been casually linked to other benefits such as - healthy brain aging, - helping maintain a healthy body weight, -protection against low levels of radiation etc.• some studies have shown that people with appropriate levels of vitamin D are at lower risk to develop cancer.
Vitamin D Requirements• Birth to 12 months – 400 IU• 1-13 years – 600 IU• 14-18 years – 600 IU• 19-70 years – 600 IU• 71+ years – 800 IU• Pregnant/Breastfeeding women – 600IU
• Australian, researchers found that mothers who had the lowest vitamin D levels in their blood during their second trimester had almost double the risk of their babies developing language problems.
• A recent review article published by researchers from Loyola University Chicago concluded that adequate intake of vitamin D may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and reduce complications for those who have already been diagnosed.• vitamin D plays an integral role in insulin sensitivity and secretion.
• Vitamin D deficiency also may be associated with hyperglycemia, insulin resistance,hypertension and heart disease.• an increased risk of depression may be related to several vitamin D–sensitive diseases. For example: cancer, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis.
• It reduces the production of cytokines which are proteins that increase inflammation and are the possible risk factor for depression.
• In some recent studies it has also shown great promise in assisting psoriasis, the immune system, thyroid function as well as normal blood clotting.
Vitamin D and Heart-Health Benefits of Weight Loss• A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests Vitamin D may enhance some positive effects of weight loss scientists discovered that those who took 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium in supplement form daily during the course of their 15-week diet had greater improvements in cholesterol levels (compared to those given a placebo for the same time period).
• Experiments show that vitamin D can inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer and breast cancer cells.• Lung cancer and pancreatic cancer cells may also be susceptible to the effects of vitamin D.• High fat diet, which normally would produce a higher incidence of colon cancer, supplements of calcium and vitamin D blocked this carcinogenic effect of the diet.