Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?
Often mistaken for a hormone and even underscored by many, vitamin D has ever been the most important of the lot for assisting in the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorous. The ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ as it is popularly known, vitamin D synthesis in the skin is boosted when one is exposed to normal quantities of natural sunlight.
But for those still wondering why such a vitamin, which is available in the most convenient of forms, is very important for the wellbeing of the human body, here’s why:
- Blood vessels brimming with vitamin D have been found to protect one from genetic diseases, a rare feat. Vitamin D has a considerable impact on those genes that form part of genetic pathways for illnesses that include cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other infectious diseases, thereby reducing the risk of contacting any of them.
- An active form of vitamin D, Calcitriol, supports the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from food, facilitating increased flow of calcium in the bloodstream, which in turn strengthens bones and helps fight bone diseases better. The absorption of calcium is difficult in the absence of vitamin D, and can give rise to many problems.
- As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is used in the smooth functioning of many systems, including the immune system in the body. Many serious illnesses of the heart, bones and cancer have been associated with the lack of, or reduced levels of vitamin D in the human body.
- Vitamin D prevents rickets in children, and breast cancer and diabetes among others, in elders. It also prevents arthritis, osteoporosis and improves lung functioning.
- Apart from its many virtues, vitamin D has also been found to be an effective mood-lifter, given that it boosts the absorption of vital elements, which in turn facilitate the even function of several systems that deal with the functioning of the brain as well.
- Several researches have also established the role of vitamin D in boosting the immune system as a hormone more than a mere nutrient that is essential for the bones. Vitamin D is widely considered as a pro-hormone in the skin, which is turned into an effective hormone form after exposure to sunlight.
All the assumptions and suggestions aside, vitamin D surely deserves more credit than it receives. So the next time you’re out in the sun, catch some rays for a healthier you.