Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin
A vitamin is an organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) that must be obtained from outside the body through diet. In contrast, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. But it is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Therefore, vitamin D is technically a pre-hormone and not a vitamin.
Vitamin D is an integral part of human health and longevity
Vitamin D plays a major role in building and maintaining strong bones by increasing the calcium that is absorbed through your intestines. Vitamin D regulates the immune system. Without vitamin D the body’s T cells will not be able to react to a foreign substance (virus or bacteria) and won’t be able to protect us.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a host of health problems
Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions.
- Multiple Sclerosis – Dosage of Vitamin D found in multivitamins have been shown to reduce the risk of Multiple Sclerosis by 40%.
- Cancer – Acording to the national cancer institute, a large number of scientific studies have investigated a possible role for vitamin D in cancer prevention.
- Diabetes – Vitamin D deficiency may be tied to risk factors for type 2 diabetes among obese children.
- Cardiovascular Disease – By raising low levels of the vitamin to normal levels, patients reduce their risk of heart disease by about 30%, an observational study finds.
80% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient
A quick internet search shows that low vitamin D is linked to everything from an increased risk of cesarean sections to myopia (nearsightedness) to colorectal cancer. And due to the modern lifestyle, the rates of vitamin D deficiency have been increasing in the US at alarming rates. The good news is that Vitamin D can be improved through eating foods high in vitamin D, increasing sun exposure or by taking a daily multivitamin.
Are you Getting Enough Vitamin D?
If you aren’t sure if you are getting the right amounts of Vitamin D, your doctor can give you a quick blood test at your next appointment or you can take this quick quiz.