Vitamin D, your body absolutely needs it with the best source being natural sunlight. Just don”t overdo it- you wouldn”t want to get burned! Your body needs vitamin D for several reasons. The first being that your body cannot absorb calcium without vitamin D; and not only is calcium important for strong, healthy, teeth and bones, your body also needs calcium for proper muscle function.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced in the skin when sunlight shines on you. Studies have shown vitamin D to be of great importance for the prevention of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Muscular weakness
- Crohns disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Autoimmune illness
- Parathyroid problems
Simply put, the body needs vitamin D to function properly. The recommended dose for adults up to age 69 is 600IU daily. Adults over 70 require higher amounts, 800IU daily, because their skin does not produce vitamin D from sunlight as efficiently as it once did and also because they just don”t get out in the sunlight like they used to. Vitamin D is believed to play a vital role in other aspects in the health of the human body but the research has been inconclusive thus far.
Vitamin D is found in many food stuffs such as eggs, milk (added), red meat, wild mushrooms, and fish. There are actually two forms of vitamin D that your body requires; vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is the type produced by the skin from sun exposure and vitamin D2 is formed in plants.
Vitamin D is needed by the body to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Calcium and phosphorus are both needed for the development and maintenance of bone, and these are also required for proper muscle function and strength.
The Roles of Vitamin D
Vitamin D also plays a role in several other functions of the body and is very important in maintain a healthy body. Another very important function of vitamin D is that it helps to influence the genes that regulate the proliferation of cancer cells. Technically vitamin D isn”t really a vitamin, but rather, it is a prohormone, a group of secosteroids produced by the interaction of sunlight on the skin.
Vitamin D plays an important role in gut function as well. The vitamin D receptor is important in fighting off invading bacteria such as Salmonella by keeping the inflammatory molecule NF-Kappa B from activating other inflammatory molecules. And the active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 has been shown to inhibit the development of autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Vitamin D3 is the more important of the two different forms of vitamin D, and this has to be gotten from natural sources such as sunlight exposure and food stuffs high in vitamin D3. Vitamin D2, while important, does not perform the same functions as vitamin D3 and so dietary supplements that contain vitamin D2 do not provide the necessary type that the body requires. So, as with anything else health related, proper diet and exercise play a key role to your good and continued health.