Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is a form of Vitamin D that is synthesized in the layers of the skin when it is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Cholecalciferol is really not a vitamin but a type of metabolic hormone that is metabolized by the body into a vitamin source. Once it has been metabolized by the liver it is then turned into calcitriol which is then used by the human body for different purposes such as to aid calcium absorption.
In order to produce enough Vitamin D from cholecalciferol the human body must be exposed to sunlight. In a society where fear of skin cancers and premature aging due to overexposure to the sun are rampant, a lot of people will not get adequate exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun to produce enough Vitamin D to serve the bodies purpose on a daily basis.
Other factors that can affect how much Vitamin D that is synthesized by the skin due to exposure to the sun, will include the climate that a person lives in. Those who are in a northern climate who do not have weather that is conducive to being outside will have a harder time spending enough time in the sunlight. Another factor that determines how much Vitamin D that is synthesized by the body is the amount of melanin in the skin. People who have more melanin in their skin will require longer exposure to the sun to produce the same amount of Vitamin D than those who have lesser amounts of melanin in their skin.
For these reasons Vitamin D has been added to food sources to make sure that most people are able to get enough of this vitamin in their daily diet. Milk is one of the main food sources that has been fortified with Vitamin D to assist people in this matter. It is also possible to purchase nutritional supplements to make sure that there is enough Vitamin D ingested on a daily basis.
Research has shown that Vitamin D3 has a very important role as a hormone that targets over 2,000 genes in the human body. Being deficient in this all important vitamin or hormone can lead to many disease processes. There has been current research that shows that Vitamin D plays key roles in optimum health and deficiencies can lead to more than ten types of cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis and more.
Previously the amounts of Vitamin D that were recommended to be taken on a daily basis for infants were 400 IU, from age 20 to 50 200 IU, age 50 to 70 400 IU, and 600 IU for adults over the age of 70. However researchers have found that 400 international units on a daily basis barely raise an adult’s blood concentrations above levels that are considered deficient. These experts are now recommending to get the optimum amount of Vitamin D on a daily basis 1,000 IU should be ingested or taken as a supplement to raise blood levels to a therapeutic level.
Current research has shown that Vitamin D3 can be beneficial in the following diseases. It has been well documented that deficiencies in this vitamin can cause osteopenia and can cause problems with bone loss and density. Recent research has shown that Vitamin D3 may play a key role in regulating the parathyroid hormone. This hormone when absent or not in sufficient quantities can cause osteoporosis and increase the risk of bone fractures in older women.
Another clinical study showed that people who were deficient in Vitamin D3 were not able to complete mental tasks as well as those who had higher levels of the vitamin in their bloodstream. The researchers felt that this study concluded that there was indeed a correlation between Vitamin D3 and possibility of it being able to help improve the mental function in older individuals.
There have been a number of clinical trials that have suggested a strong possibility of a role between Vitamin D deficiency and several different cancers. These cancers include breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancer. A long term study that lasted over 4 years studied women who were supplemented with high levels of Vitamin D3. The conclusion at the end of the study was that this group showed a much lower risk of cancer at the end of the study than their counterparts who were given placebos. Another study was done on women who were given Vitamin D3 while receiving chemotherapy. The study showed that the tumors cells seemed to be more sensitive to the chemotherapy while the women were taking the nutritional supplement.
Researchers have also linked Vitamin D3 to certain immune responses. Vitamin D3 regulates our T cells which are key to our immune system in our body. Vitamin D3 acts as a modulator for the immune system. It prevents an excessive inflammatory response and helps increase the ability of macrophages to kill harmful substances. This may be very important to people who have auto immune diseases such as AIDS.
Vitamin D3 is a very important substance that we are still learning much about. It is key that we get a therapeutic amount in our diet or that we receive supplements to allow our bodies to receive the necessary amounts needed. Scientists are still finding more it seems each day as to how important this vitamin is to our health.
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