Questions answered about Vitamin D
Vitamin D, we've all heard of that. But is Vitamin D as good as one claims? Does not Vitamin D just sit in the sun? Can you just swallow extra Vitamin D and what are the differences in Vitamin D? The health coun…Read more...
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Vitamin D is important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones. It’s also an important factor in making sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and that your body can fight infection.
Your body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from supplements and a very small amount comes from a few foods you eat.
The vitamin D that you get in your skin from sunlight, and the vitamin D from supplements, has to be changed by your body a number of times before it can be used. Once it’s ready, your body uses it to manage the amount of calcium in your blood, bones and gut and to help cells all over your body to communicate properly.
Functions of vitamin D
Vitamin D is very important for strong bones. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for developing the structure and strength of your bones, and you need vitamin D to absorb these minerals.
Even if you eat foods that contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus, without enough vitamin D, you can’t absorb them into your body. Vitamin D is important for general good health, and researchers now are discovering that vitamin D may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health. Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D helps with include:
- Immune system, which helps you to fight infection
- Muscle function
- Cardiovascular function, for a healthy heart and circulation
- Respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways
- Brain development
- Anti-cancer effects
How does vitamin D work?
Vitamin D mainly comes from your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. After that, your body goes through a number of chemical processes to change it so that your body can use it.
When your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces vitamin D and sends it to your liver. If you take supplements or eat foods that contain vitamin D, your gut also sends the vitamin D to your liver. From here, your liver changes it to a substance called 25(OH)D. When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels, he means the amount of 25(OH)D you have in your blood.
This chemical is sent all over your body where different tissues, including your kidney, turn it into activated vitamin D. This activated vitamin D is now ready to perform its duties. From here, it gets a little complicated, but you can think of activated vitamin D working in two ways:
- Manages calcium in your blood, bones and gut
- Helps cells all over your body to communicate properly