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Smart way to live long life

Smart way to live long life

Shedding Light on Vitamin D: Understanding Its Importance and Benefits

Shedding Light on Vitamin D: Understanding Its Importance and Benefits

Vitamin D is essential for our well-being, playing a crucial role in numerous biochemical processes within the body. It supports the health of bones, muscles, and teeth, while also bolstering our immune system. During the summer months, our skin can produce an ample supply of vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation. However, during the winter, we may experience a deficiency. Let's delve into what vitamin D is and explore its many benefits.

Article at a Glance

  1. Vitamin D: Sources, Forms, and Importance
  2. The Vital Role of Vitamin D in Bone and Muscle Health
  3. All cells respond to vitamin D exposure
  4. Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem

Vitamin D: Sources, Forms, and Importance

We receive vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from the sun, which is produced under the skin from cholesterol under the action of ultraviolet radiation. But it can also be supplied by food, as some fish contain it (however, it depends very much on the conditions in which the fish lives). 

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is of plant origin. However, it is only found in limited quantities in foods such as mushrooms.

Animal and vegetable forms of vitamin D must first pass through the digestive tract, where up to 50% is degraded. In terms of biological activity, the D3 form is 3 to 10 times more effective than the D2 form, as its metabolite remains in the serum longer and undergoes degradation more slowly. Therefore, this form is the most significant for humans.

If we decide to supplement, then definitely reach for the form of D3 and in combination with K2. These two nutrients work together. Both forms, D2 and D3, are inactive prohormones and must be converted by the organism first in the liver, then in the kidneys into an active form. The final substance is the steroid hormone calcitriol, which performs a number of important functions in our body. Again, the D3 form is more beneficial for the body because it is not so demanding for the body to convert to an active form.

The Vital Role of Vitamin D in Bone and Muscle Health

It is widely known that vitamin D is essential for healthy teeth and bones. Calcium is crucial for prevention and treatment, and for its proper absorption, sufficient vitamin D is necessary. Vitamin D, specifically its active metabolites, enhances the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine. Thanks to this mechanism, childhood rickets (a disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency), osteomalacia (bone demineralization due to a lack of vitamin D), and bone thinning in adults can be prevented.

In addition to bone health, vitamin D also influences the normal function of muscle tissue by acting on muscle cell receptors. Therefore, a decreased level of vitamin D is a risk factor for the elderly population. Reduced muscle strength, particularly in the anti-gravity muscles of the lower limbs crucial for balance and stability, increases the risk of falls, while poor bone mineralization increases the risk of fractures.

All cells respond to vitamin D exposure

In most of our tissues and cells, there are receptors for vitamin D, underscoring its importance (some even have the ability to convert its inactive form into the highly active calciferol). All cells originate from a basic stem cell, which then differentiates into various cell types based on the body's requirements.

Vitamin D directly or indirectly influences the regulation of this cell differentiation—a biological process where cells specialize into distinct types—and aids in the removal of unnecessary or worn-out cells. It is one of the nutrients that significantly impacts the proper functioning of the immune system.

Prolonged deficiency is linked to a heightened susceptibility to acute respiratory infections and flu. Additionally, it contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, as these cell types undergo continuous renewal. Vitamin D can also elevate our mood. We are familiar with the positive energy and mood boost we experience when the sun shines. One reason for this is the synthesis of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem

Vitamin D deficiency is being extensively investigated in relation to autoimmune disorders such as Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders, where its anti-inflammatory effect can be beneficial. Research is also ongoing regarding the potential association between vitamin D deficiency and the onset of certain cancer diseases, high blood pressure, heart failure, type I and II diabetes, as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

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