The Importance of Vitamin D

  • In the past decade there has been renewed interest in Vitamin D. The latest research indicates that Vitamin D is instrumental in a large number of metabolic processes in the body and is more important to mental and physical health than previously thought. Not only is Vitamin D essential for strong bones, but it is also important to keep your heart and brain healthy. Additionally, your immune response and literally hundreds of processes within your body are dependent on Vitamin D.

    Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium in the small intestine from your food. Calcium, along with phosphorus, magnesium and other essential minerals, prevent osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets. Further more, researchers have discovered a direct correlation between Vitamin D levels and the incidence of disease conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and dementia. A chart published by Grass Roots Nutrition shows the correlation of Vitamin D intake and the incidence of common health diseases.

    Disease Incidence Prevention with Vitamin D - Grassroots Health Chart
    See the expanded view of PDF of Disease Incidence Prevention:

    Every cell of your body has a vitamin D receptor and uses vitamin D in some way. It is known that there are 82 genes that are turned off with vitamin D and 209 genes that are turned on with this important vitamin. The genes that vitamin D activates, are in essence tiny switches that turn on and off different metabolic pathways within the body. These pathways control over 160 different metabolic processes, all of which are positively affected and improved by sufficient vitamin D levels in the blood.

    Some of the many ailments that are associated with low vitamin D levels include: schizophrenia, depression, infections (such as Upper Respiratory Infections, tuberculosis and Urniary Tract Infections), high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancers (colon, breast, prostate, etc), muscle weakness, muscle aches, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis, malabsorption diseases, Rickets, obesity, Crohn's, Whipple's, Cystic Fibrosis, Celiac disease, hepatic (liver) disease, renal (kidney) failure, bronchial asthma, and AODM (Adult-onset Diabetes Mellitus).

    How Much Vitamin D is Needed?

    So a very important question is: What is the amount of vitamin D that a person needs for optimum health? Research indicates that everyone will greatly benefit from having their blood level of Vitamin D above 40 nanograms per milliliter (at a minimum), whereas 50 ng/ml is a much improved status and at a concentration in the blood that will reduce the rate of breast cancer by 83%. From the National Institutes of Health we see their chart below:

    Vitamin D National Institutes of Health

    Recommendations for Vitamin Supplementation

    World renown Vitamin D Researcher, Dr. Michael Holick recommends Vitamin D intake as follows:

    Vitamin D Intake Recommendation_by_Dr_Holick

    There have been no adverse Vitamin D toxicity reports for an adult taking up to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D per day. It is not recommended to exceed this amount.

    Dr. Holick, Ph.D., M.D. is Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics; director of the General Clinical Research Unit; and Director of the Bone Health Care Clinic and the Director of the Heliotherapy, Light and Skin Research Center at Boston University Medical Center.

    Vitamin D and Heart Health

    There are 200 genes in the heart and heart vessels that are regulated directly or indirectly by vitamin D. When vitamin D is deficient there is a 50% greater risk of heart attack. In fact, at the time of a heart attack, if you are deficient in vitamin D, there is a 100% increase of dying from a heart attack.

    How Vitamin D Works

    When sunlight shines on our skin, the UVB radiation penetrates to the deepest levels of the epidermal layer. It is the deepest two layers of the epidermis where UVB Rays are absorbed by 7-Dehydrocholesterol (a precursor of cholesterol) normally found in the skin. [wikipedia]...

    Here is where the chemical reaction occurs that changes UVB radiation into cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol. These are the biologically inactive precursors of vitamin D that are transported by the blood to the liver by a vitamin D binding protein (and by albumin).

    In the liver cells vitamin D is hydroxylated to form 25-hydroxyvitamin D (calcidiol D2 and calcifediol D3). D3 constitutes the major circulating vitamin D in the body. The sum of 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 are used as an indicator of vitamin D levels by labs that test for vitamin D level.

    From the blood, the kidneys pickup and process this inactive form of vitamin D (inside the nucleus of kidney cells) thru a second dydroxylation that converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol). The rate of this second hydroxylation is regulated by serum phosphorus, calcium, parathyroid hormone (PTH), fibroblast growth factor 23(FGF023), and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D itself.

    The kidney is NOT the only place where this conversion occurs. It also takes place in the skin, parathyroid gland, breast, colon, prostate and cells of the immune system and bone cells.

    Some of the many different minerals and hormones that are required for the body to maintain in balance include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, vitamin D, vitamin A and Vitamin K1 and K2.

    The interaction of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and other bone building minerals and nutrients within the body in conjunction with the various organs, glands and systems is amazingly sophisticated and complex. We are truly "fearfully and wonderfully made."

    Interesting Facts about Vitamin D

    Magnesium is also needed to convert Vit D to its active form.

    Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is present in some plants.

    Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is present in skins of animals.

    Activated macrophages will activate vitamin D.

    Acting principally on the duodenum 1,25(OH)2 D increases calcium absorption. It also acts on bone cells, both osteoblasts and osteoclasts to mobilize calcium.

    Every 100 IU of Vit D3 raises 25(OH)D by only 1 ng/mL.

    Vitamin D regulates skin cell growth.

    Nurses that had the highest levels of 25(OH)D (vitamin D Levels) at 48ng/mL had a 50% lower risk incidence of breast cancer.

    Activated Vitamin D [1,25(OH)2 D3] (Calcitriol) has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth.

    Secondary hyperparathyroidism due to vitamin D insufficiency can increase breakdown and precipitate osteoporosis. Studies indicate high doses of supplemental vitamin D reduces the risk of fractures in the elderly.

    Insulin producing cells have a vitamin D receptor.

    Vitamin D levels predict all cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in subjects with metabolic syndrome. The Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health (LURIC) Study - March 7, 2012

    Article written by Aleea McDonald


    Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. ...

Mankind's Use of Herbs

In the beginning:  “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”  Ezekial 47:12

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