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Vitamin D is More Than Bones

January 22, 2013  by: DR.VNS  Points: 20   Category: General Science    Views: 1052

Vitamin D is the most popular vitamin of 2012. Several new roles for this vitamin have emerged.

         

Vitamin D is one of the fat soluble vitamins. Fish oil is one of the sources for the supply of vitamin D. However, people do not consume fish on a regular basis and in addition, vegetarians do not eat fish. There is another source available and this is absolutely free. This source is sunlight. Of course, sunlight does not contain vitamin D, but sunlight provides the UV radiations required to produce vitamin D in the body

Vitamin D Biosynthesis

How does this happen? The skin contains a derivative of cholesterol, known as 7-dehydrocholesterol. This compound is transformed by the UV radiations from sunlight into vitamin D. Hence, vitamin D is also known as sunshine vitamin. This biological transformation of 7-dehydrocholesterol also shows that cholesterol is not as bad as pictured by the public and performs many useful functions in the body.

Vitamin D Becomes Calcitriol, the Hormone

Many vitamins including water soluble vitamins undergo transformation in the body before they could bring about their biological actions. Vitamin D also requires to be activated. This consists of two reactions, the first one taking place in the liver and the second reaction occurring in the kidneys. Both these reactions are brought about by the catalytic actions of enzymes. The final activated form of vitamin D is called 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (cacitriol).

Actions of Vitamin D

Traditionally, vitamin D has been associated with bone. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. Calcium, along with phosphorus, forms the building block for the formation of bone. Recent studies indicate that vitamin D may have more than one function. Vitamin D supplementation protects against osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency produces several health complications. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and affected brain (cognitive) functions. Vitamin D deficiency also leads to obesity and obesity-related complications. Vitamin D has a stimulating effect on the immune cells. The immune cells contain receptors for calcitriol proving the role for vitamin D in the immune cells. Vitamin D also protects against the onset of autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D deficiency also leads to the onset of some forms of cancer.

Vitamin D and Muscle Strength


Some recent studies also indicate that vitamin D may have a role to play in the building of strong muscles. Studies with individuals of different age groups suggest that the upper body muscles are more influenced by the body vitamin D levels than the lower body muscles. This may be on account of the fact that these muscles contain different muscle fibers. Type II muscle fibers are positively modified by vitamin D.




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