Vitamin D3: An Important Yet Overlooked Vitamin For Great Health

Hot Health
By Hot Health July 24, 2017 11:07

Vitamin D3: An Important Yet Overlooked Vitamin For Great Health

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The Importance of Vitamin D3 For The Body 

The body is a complicated machine with many factors that influence its well-being. Where there are major factors that affect the body, there are also some minor chemicals and nutrients that make a major impact. One such nutrient is vitamin D3. Also known as cholecalciferol, vitamin D3 has a number of functions in the body. Its primary role revolves around the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous, but there a number of other uses of this vitamin also. Here we will help you understand the significance of vitamin D3 in the body and what happens when your body has a deficiency.

Before we point to the uses of vitamin D3, let us understand what this vitamin is all about. Basically, vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin. It is usually formed in the skin when our body is exposed to the sun. Cholesterol present in the skin is converted into cholecalciferol. However, this still doesn’t have the full capacity of activated vitamin D3. The cholecalciferol then transfers to the kidneys, where it is acted upon by another enzyme to form dihydro-cholecalciferol. The body utilizes this fully activated vitamin D. so, in order for you to not incur a vitamin D3 deficiency your body needs to produce and activate the vitamin. Hence, the skin and the kidneys both need to be working at their optimum for your body to have the right concentration of vitamin D3 in the body.

However, due to certain reasons like increased demand during growth phase or due to decreased exposure to the sun, the level of this vitamin is decreased. Certain diseases can also result in a deficiency. Here are the most important uses of vitamin D3, which highlight its importance in the body.

  • Bones and teeth, vitamin D3 is responsible for stimulating calcium absorption from the intestine and making it available for utilization by bones and teeth. Bones and teeth contain an organic matrix that needs the deposition of minerals to stay strong. Plus, the growth of bones and growing of teeth need vitamin D3 for extra calcium. In certain conditions, vitamin D3 is also used to prevent bone loss and weakness, helping treat osteomalacia.
  • Role in preventing certain diseases, there are a number of diseases that can be prevented by vitamin D3. Research suggests a prominent role of the vitamin in preventing multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and even the common flu. Clearly, vitamin D3 boosts the immunity to help your body fight against infections and prevent diseases.
  • Fights depression, studies have proven that vitamin D3 plays a role in the mood and depression regulation. Another study on fibromyalgia found that vitamin D3 was decreased in patients who also had anxiety, clearly indicating its role in depression.
  • Weight loss, there are a number of ways that vitamin D3 contributes to weight loss. Part of the role was attributed to the appetite suppressing and metabolism enhancing properties of vitamin D3 that resulted in the utilization of more energy in a given time period.
  • Calcium support, low levels of calcium in the blood can have dire consequences on your body. Ranging from poor kidney function to poor clotting to improper muscular contraction, a calcium deficiency can have its toll on your body. Vitamin D3 helps prevent this from occurring, maintaining the optimum internal environment.
  • Regulates insulin levels, vitamin D3 plays an important role in the release of insulin from the pancreas and hence the management of diabetes. Studies prove significant in glucose management of the diabetic patient in the presence of D3.
  • Anticancer, although the exact mechanism of action is not known, there are certain studies that highlight the use of vitamin D3 as protection against cancer. Vitamin D3 works at the level of the nucleus and helps to up regulate the expression of certain anti-cancer genes which protect against the risk of malignant transformation, especially against breast cancer.
  • Prevention of polycystic ovaries, a common cause of infertility in women. Studies suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and polycystic ovaries. This highlights the use of vitamin D3 in the prevention of this syndrome. This helps women maintain and even improve their fertility, without using chemicals and pills that could have negative effects on their body.
  • Improves heart health, studies suggest a direct link of improved vitamin D3 levels in the blood and great health. Low levels have been found to have 153% higher chance of developing heart disease than patients with high levels of vitamin D3.
  • Lowers risk of premature death, vitamin D3 has prenatal benefits also. The vitamin was bound to be associated with a 6% lower risk of premature deaths as compared to people who did not take supplements. This property can be attributed to the bone and muscle strengthening and calcium promoting qualities of this vitamin.
  • Muscle strength, calcium is a primary requirement for contraction. Without calcium, the contraction process cannot be initiated. Hence, vitamin D3 helps to maintain optimum calcium levels to enable all the contraction processes of the body to continue smoothly.

In addition to all the benefits mentioned above, vitamin D3 plays prominent roles in preventing allergies, including asthma. The vitamin helps promote healing and has a significant role in improving the status of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. Clearly, vitamin D3 has a broad spectrum of uses, which makes it an extremely important component of your diet.

Considering the many uses, it is very important to maintain an optimal vitamin D3 intake. Your body can produce the vitamin in sunlight, however, there are certain conditions in which this process fails. These include:

  1. High pollution can result in a vitamin D3 deficiency, simply because your body isn’t able to function well. This results in a relative deficiency.
  2. Sunscreen, you know that sun rays fall directly on the skin result in vitamin D3 production. However, when these rays are obstructed by the presence of sunscreen, vitamin D3 production decreases significantly and the person incurs a deficiency.
  3. Indoors, in the tech age, more and more people, especially of the younger age are spending time indoors. They don’t expose themselves to the sun to be able to produce enough vitamin D3. Couple this with junk food and the child hardly gets vitamin D3 to meet the demands.
  4. Urbanization, part of the cause of deficiency is the shift of cities towards apartment systems with minimal exposure. When people don’t have a personal space, for instance, a backyard, where they can sit and relax, chances are they won’t bother to go outside. As a consequence, their skin fails to produce sufficient vitamin D3 for their body.

All of these reasons are common causes of vitamin D3 deficiency in the general population. So, what do you do? Well, a great way to prevent deficiency is by eating foods that contain vitamin D3, getting a few minutes in the sun during peak hours, or using supplements.

Generally, the vitamin is fat soluble, so fatty foods are likely to contain high levels of this vitamin. Here are some common foods that contain a large amount of vitamin D3.

  • Cod liver oil, the oil from fatty fish is an extremely rich source of vitamin D.
  • Fatty fish including Mackerel, sardines, tuna, and salmon are valuable sources of vitamin D3 that you can include in your diet.
  • Eggs, this complete package of nutrients also has an abundant source of vitamin D3 that can replenish the vitamin in our body and treat the deficiency.
  • Fortified milk, natural milk is low in vitamin D3, however, milk fortified artificially to contain this vitamin can be used to treat the deficiency as well as provide abundant amounts of calcium.
  • Beef liver, the red meat has an abundant source of vitamin D3. This is because part of the vitamin is stored in the liver for use.
  • Mushrooms, vegan diets can benefit from the plant sources of vitamin D3. Mushrooms contain adequate if not lots of vitamin D3, which can help stabilize the nutrient levels after consistent use.
  • Soy and almond milk, are other vegan options that can be fortified with vitamin D3 to provide broad protection against deficiency.
  • Supplements, in cases of severe deficiency, vitamin D3 needs to be replenished immediately. In these circumstances, foods don’t provide sufficient vitamin. Instead, supplements are prescribed by doctors to raise the level back to normal.

Now that you know of all the sources and the uses of vitamin D3, let’s move on to the effects of its deficiency. What happens when your body has low levels of this vitamin? As can be expected, there is a multi system effect on the body. Here we describe the prominent features of a vitamin D3 deficiency.

  • Cognitive function, symptoms start slowly and can be nonspecific at the start. However, it usually begins as a difficulty in thinking clearly and causing lack of concentration.
  • Bone pain, as the vitamin D3 is responsible for mineralization, low levels are associated with progressive loss of mineral ions. The osteoclast system is activated and start eating the bones. This can lead to chronic pain in bones.
  • Osteomalacia in adults, low vitamin D3 results in the demineralization of the bones causing them to go soft and weak. This causes the bones to become susceptible to fractures. Patients usually present with fractures due to small injuries.
  • Rickets is the commonest presentation of vitamin D3 deficiency in children. The soft, demineralized bones cannot stand the weight of the child and start to bow under pressure. This leads to the bowing of the legs called rickets.
  • Muscle weakness, due to low availability of calcium. The contractile process cannot be initiated leading to difficulty when starting the contraction and easy fatigue.
  • Increased fatigue, the general reactions of the body need vitaminD3 and calcium, especially during energy production. The low calcium results in low energy and hence fatigue.
  • Increased weight, vitamin D3 serves to suppress appetite and stimulate a state of satiety. However, in its absence, the body thinks that there is low energy availability. As a consequence, you start eating more and more and end up putting on lots of weight.

All in all, vitamin D3 has a major role in maintaining the internal environment of the body. The vitamin plays a role in bone metabolism and the maintenance of calcium concentration in the body. Besides this, there are a number of other roles of the vitamin which hold significant value also.

Considering how easy it is to enter into a deficiency, you need to pay particular attention to what you eat. A slight modification in your intake can help you optimize the vitamin D3 levels in the body and prevent any harmful consequences.

The effects of vitamin D3 deficiency can extend into long term problems if not seen to. Hence, optimizing your intake as a precautionary measure against the deficiency is a must. Consider the small changes in your diet to make it more vitamin D3 friendly. Your bones and organs need it!

Hot Health
By Hot Health July 24, 2017 11:07
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