Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin is a fat-soluble and essential to bone growth and strength. It is found naturally in very few foods, the body makes it naturally when the sun’s rays reach your skin. It seems that your skin is a vitamin D production center for your body. The D3 form is most active for your bodies health.
People wearing sunscreen, those who are house bound or have dark skin have more difficulty manufacturing enough vitamin D3 for their body’s needs.
Vitamin D3 is found in from a few foods we eat and also from supplements. If you are house bound or extremely sun sensitive then supplementing your diet with high quality D3 capsule or spending a little time under full spectrum light or in tanning booths are the alternatives to upping the D levels in our bodies.
How does the body use vitamin D3?
1. Promotes calcium absorption in the gut.
2. Helps maintain adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and prevent hypocalcemic tetany
3. Is needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by specific bone cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen.
4. Helps balance blood calcium levels
5. Helps increases absorption of calcium in the intestines to the blood stream where 95 percent of the body’s calcium is stored.
6. It stimulates calciferol to absorbes phosphorus into the body
7. Helps calcium calm the nerves
8. Regulates muscle contraction and bone strength
9. Helps regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
10. It helps many genes make proteins that regulate cell multiplication, differentiation, and cell death especially in deficiency and rickets in infants and young children.
Vitamin D3 is obtained from sun exposure, supplements and the following foods:
Butter, cheese, cod liver oil, eggs, liver, fortified margarine, milk (human and other animal), mushrooms, salmon, sardines, flax seeds, shrimp, tuna, sunflower seeds
Vitamin D is biologically inert (not active) and must undergo two changes (hydroxylations) in the body for activation. The first change occurs in the liver where vitamin D is changed to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], or calcidiol. Next the kidney converts calcidiol to the bioactive 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 we call calcitriol.
Keeping our digestive system, and its organs and kidneys in proper functioning order is vital for the proper utilization of vitamin D3 and our health and well-being.