Vitamin D: What you need to know
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
First discovered as a necessary 'nutrient' to prevent rickets in the 1920's.
Ever since, the scientific community has continuously unveiled a diverse array of vital physiological actions that vitamin D plays in the body.
Health Functions of Vitamin D
Technically, vitamin D can be considered a 'pro-hormone' rather than a 'vitamin'. This active hormone influences and regulates many functions within the body.
Elevation of plasma calcium and phosphate levels: required for bone mineralization, nerve transmission, vasodilation, and hormonal secretion.
Gene activation/regulation: Assay studies show that 5% of the genome is influenced by the presence of calcitriol.
Respiratory and Vascular system
Mood: Anxiety, depression
Cell formation/proliferation/apoptosis (cell death): Important role in cancer control
Suppression of autoimmune conditions
Deficiency spans far and wide
Upwards of 1 billion people, including 42-80% of American adults are deficient (depending on the research you're looking at), and 70% of American children 6-11.
Those who are at highest risk:
Live in northern hemispheres,
Don't get regular exposure to sunlight
Dark skin (and don't get regular sunlight exposure)
Upgrade your Immune System RESILIENCE
Vitamin D has long been recognized as an essential component to optimizing immune system function and regulation.
Most of our immune system cells have a high concentration of vitamin D receptors, and adequate vitamin D is needed for proper activation and function. Certain immune cells will release more activated vitamin D to other nearby immune cells!
Improving our cellular immune system:
Particular cells with high concentrations of vitamin D receptors include important cells of the immune system: T-cells, cytotoxic T-cells, antigen presenting cells, macrophages, monocytes. Production of cathelicidin in macrophages and monocytes produces anti-microbial peptides (AMPs). As many as 200 different types of these peptides are produced.
This is our body's first natural line of defense, as they are particularly produced by immune, gut, and skin cells. Those with high levels of AMP product have greater immune resiliency, while those that have low production, tend to get sicker more often.
Role in Cancer Prevention
Adequate levels shown to positively affect 16 different types of cancer
Potentially reducing your risk of cancer by 60%
(A separate article will have to be written here.)
Support the Foundations First:
Yes, we're meant to be exposed to full spectrum sunlight. It's not the devil and not going to cause cancer with regular, moderate exposure (a topic for a different article).
Vitamin D happens to be the only 'vitamin' our body can create... so let's work with nature and produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D the way we were designed.
10-20 minutes of direct sunlight to, ideally, 40% of your skin. Darker complexion may require more sunlight. Sunscreen and blunt this effect as UVB rays are needed to convert 7-dehydrocholesterol into its active form that can be converted into vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), or calcitriol, in the liver.