- July 20, 2016
- Posted by: emobile
- Category: Trending Topic
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Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, can be produced in the body with mild sun exposure or consumed in food or supplements. The intake of adequate vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also provides a protective effect against multiple diseases and conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Functions in the body Maintenance of the health of bones and teeth Supporting the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system Regulation of insulin levels and aid diabetes management Supporting lung function and cardiovascular health Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development Sources of Vitamin D
In spite of the name, Vitamin D is considered a pro-hormone and not actually a vitamin. The reason is that the body can produce its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, while vitamins are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired through the diet or supplements. It is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times weekly allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D, but vitamin D has a half-life of only two weeks, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter. Some studies have suggested that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D is produced when sunlight converts cholesterol on the skin into calciol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D3 is then converted into calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) in the liver. The kidneys then convert calcidiol into the active form of vitamin D, called calcitriol (1,25-hydroxyvitamin D3). As such, statins and other medications or supplements that inhibit cholesterol synthesis, liver function or kidney function can impair the synthesis of vitamin D. Useful facts about Vitamin D Its primary role is to support the development and maintenance of bones and teeth. A fair-skinned person with full body exposure to the sun can synthesize up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 in 20 minutes. Its deficiency is prevalent among the elderly, infants, dark skin and people living at higher latitudes or those with little sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency has been seen in up to 80% of hip fracture patients. 800IU of vitamin D per day reduces the risk of fracture by 20% in the elderly and decreases the risk of falls. Vitamin D metabolism may be affected by some medications, including barbiturates.
Benefits of Vitamin D
The benefits and risks of Vitamin D in
One of the benefits of Vitamin D in the human body is the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin D is required in the body to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys.
Lack of Vitamin D in children can cause rickets, a disease characterized by a severely bowlegged appearance triggered by impaired mineralization and softening of the bones while it causes poor bone density, muscular weakness and small pseudo fractures of the spine, femur and humerus. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease among postmenopausal women and older men.
Furthermore, the role of vitamin D on the reduction of diabetes risk cannot be underestimated. Several observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D in the body and risk of type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetics, insufficient vitamin D levels may have an adverse effect on insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.
Similarly, vitamin D aids the reduction of risk of flu in children. Given 1,200 IU of vitamin D per day for 4 months during the winter will reduced the risk of influenza A infection significantly
In addition to the above, vitamin D helps in having a healthy infants. Children with normal blood pressure who were given 2,000 IU/day had significantly lower arterial wall stiffness after 16 weeks compared with children who were given only 400 IU/day. Low vitamin D status has also been associated with a higher risk and severity of atopic childhood diseases and allergic diseases, including asthma, atopic dermatitis andeczema. Vitamin D may enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids, making it potentially useful as a supportive therapy for people with steroid-resistant asthma.
In the same vein, vitamin D helps in promoting healthy pregnancy as pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing preeclampsia and needing a cesarean section. Poor vitamin D status is also associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. It is also important to note that vitamin D levels that were too high during pregnancy were associated with an increase in food allergy of the child during the first two years of life.
Above all, vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death and by reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Vitamin D has an influence on more than 200 human genes, which can be impaired when D status is suboptimal.