Vitamin D, More Than a Vitamin!
The evidence keeps mounting, Vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin is indeed more than a vitamin. Epidemiological findings reported just last month in an article titled "Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention”, states that "Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers”.
Vitamin D is indeed more than a vitamin, it acts as a hormone as well. Officially, it is considered a prohormone because our body manufactures it from the sunshine we get. It also acts as a hormone because it enhances calcium absorption. Experts have long recommended that most of us need about 20-30 minutes of sun exposure a day to achieve our daily dose. But, times have changed, and so have the recommendations for how much vitamin D is considered optimal. Most importantly, research is pointing to several additional roles that vitamin D plays in our health and in the prevention of disease. In fact, vitamin D is so important, that making it from the sunshine through our skin, is encoded in our genes since prehistoric man! So, let's take a look at the vitamin that does so much more.
Effects Of Vitamin D
Enhances Calcium Absorption. Without enough Vitamin D, calcium absorption is inhibited, and we all know how important calcium is to our bones and teeth! When there is a deficiency of vitamin D, the production of the "calcium binding proteins" that enhance calcium absorption from our small intestine, slows down.
Promotes Calcium Deposits into Bone. Vitamin D is part of a team of nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and fluoride that compose part of the bone material. Vitamin D also plays a role in collagen synthesis, a vital material in bones, cartilage and skin to name three major body parts. How many of us think about vitamin D's role in our skin health?
Acts Like a Hormone. Because Vitamin D can enter the nucleus of a cell and attach itself to parts of our DNA, it affects what happens to the cells themselves in what scientists call "cell differentiation". What does this mean? Cell differentiation is the process by which cells become a "type of cell". In fact, scientists have been discovering that there are "receptors" for Vitamin D in almost every cell of our body including the cells of our immune system (receptors are like doors into our cells). This includes key immune cells, which fight cancers including prostate, breast, and colon.
Want to know a little more about Vitamin D and the latest research (let's keep in mind that all researchers agree that more studies are necessary before drawing conclusions)?
Next: Potential Effects Of Vitamin D, Why We Are Deficient