Shedding Light on the Importance of Vitamin D

Shedding Light on the Importance of Vitamin D
October 22 12:21 2015 Print This Article

Vitamin DVitamin D refers to several types of compounds that fallunder a group known assecosteroids.

There are 2 types of vitamin D that are important to humans, namely vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. The first one, vitamin D2, is also known as ergocalciferol. It is produced by different types of organisms, including lichens, fungus (e.g. shiitake and portobellomushrooms), and plants like alfalfa. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), on the other hand, is the type that is synthesized by the human skin when it is exposed to the sun’s UVB radiation.

Having sufficient levels of vitamin D is essential for the health and wellness of an individual. The benefits include the following:

  • Supports cardiovascular health and protects against heart diseases
  • Helps with high blood pressure
  • Protects against cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, colon, esophagus, and the lymphatic system
  • Lowers risk of diabetes
  • Decreases risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Protects against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Improves bone health and prevents pain in the muscles and bones
  • Improves a memory and cognitive function
  • Improves mood

 

Although some sources will tell you that vitamin D is a hormone, this is not exactly true. Vitamin D, whether the D2 or the D3 variant, are not hormones themselves. However, Vitamin D is the raw material from which some hormones and prehormones are derived. These include the following:

  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or Calcitriol – This metabolite of Vitamin D is an important calcium regulator. It is an adaptive hormone produced and released by the kidneys in response to conditions like dietary calcium deficiency and intestinal transport defects. It helps raise calcium levels in the blood by promoting absorption of dietary calcium from the gastrointestinal tract, by working against the calcium loss via urination, and by stimulating the release of calcium from the bones.
  • 25-hydroxy-VitaminD or Calcifediol/Calcidiol – Calcifediol, also known as calcidiol, is a prehormone produced by the liver through the hydroxylation of Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D1It is not biologically active, but it is widely used in medicine to determine vitamin D levels in the body. Calcitriol has a short half-life inside the body, so for blood tests that aim to measure Vitamin D concentration in the blood, calcidiol is used as the benchmark instead.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to the development of osteomalacia in adults or rickets in children. These diseases are characterized by softening of the bones due to insufficient mineralization. As a result, the bones become weak and sometimes become distorted or misshapen.

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to other conditions, including increased risk for high blood pressure, heart diseases, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and several forms of cancer.

If it is determined by your health provider that you are deficient in Vitamin D, supplementation or bioidentical vitamin D replacement may be recommended to help bring your body back to optimal health.

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About Article Author

Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan is a health enthusiast and has written several health articles for various health magazines.

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