The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D also works in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones to promote bone mineralization. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, two forms of skeletal diseases that weaken bones. Research also suggests that vitamin D may help maintain a healthy immune system and help regulate cell growth and differentiation, the process that determines what a cell is to become.
This substance seems to act more like a hormone than a vitamin. Hormones affect our various systems, making those systems run better. Vitamin D regulates and enhances the body’s production of certain antimicrobial peptides called “bacterioncins.” These peptides attack bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses by dissolving their cell walls. At this same time, the body responds with inflammation, and vitamin D takes a roll in this process by preventing the immune system from releasing too many inflammatory agents (cytokines) especially into the lung area. Thus it’s been discovered that people lacking in vitamin D catch more upper respiratory illnesses than those with sufficient vitamin D. This is another reason that the cold and flu season hits in the winter months when there is less sun to make vitamin D and we simply do not spend as much time out of doors.
Researchers have discovered that Vitamin D is required to metabolize stored fat and that more than 60% of people tested are severely deficient. You can help your body burn abdominal fat and lose weight naturally by regulating your vitamin D intake. The results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reveal that 59% of young women tested had too little circulating vitamin D and nearly one-quarter were grossly deficient in the active form of the vitamin. Vitamin D insufficiency has been shown to be a factor in the accumulation of excess body fat as the fat-soluble vitamin becomes locked away in adipocytes (fat cells). In the absence of sufficient vitamin D, the body increases the number and size of newly formed fat cells that promote and accelerate abdominal obesity.
Widely used sun-block creams and lotions may shield the skin from dangerous rays, but also keep it from being able to create the vitamin that’s vital to good health. In the attempting to protect their skin from skin cancer, many may have prevented their bodies from making sufficient vitamin D from sunlight.
Vitamin D is widely known for its importance to strong bones. What’s new is that scientists are finding that a shortage of vitamin D can increase the risks of diabetes and hypertension, and can lead to a blood vessel inflammation that can result in acute heart attacks. Some research also suggests that vitamin D may help in preventing osteoporosis, cancer and several autoimmune diseases, according to information presented by the Mayo Clinic. A common sign of a vitamin D deficiency is muscle aches, since muscle fibers need Vitamin D for optimum health.